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30 St. Michael's Street, Oxford 

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A quarterly ornithological publication 
of the East Africa Natural History Society 
Volume 1 (1) March 1977 15 shillings 


Scopus is published five times a year by the East Africa Natural History Society's 
Ornithological ST±)-CoiiHnittee . Sxibscriptions are payable to the Hon. Treasurer 
(and Secretciry) , D.A. Turner, Scopus a/c. Box 48019, Nairobi, Kenya, at the 
following annual rates : 

1) To members of the E.A.N.H.S., Kenya shillings 50/- 

2) To all others, Kenya shillings 75/- 

All material for Scopus ^ including papers, short communications, and records of , 
birds, should be sent to the Chairman of the Ornithological Sub-Committee, 
Dr D.J. Pearson, Department of Biochemistry, Box 30197, Nairobi. 

Other members of the Sub-Committee are: G.C. Backhurst (Editor of Scopus) i 
Box 290O3, Nairobi; P.L. & Mrs H.A. Britton, Box 90163, Mombasa; G.R. Cunningham- 
van Someren, Box 40658, Nairobi; Dr A.W. Diamond, Department of Zoology, 
Box 30197, Nairobi; A.D. Forbes-Watson, Box 49771, Nairobi; B.S. Meadows^ 
Box 30521, Nairobi; J.F. Reynolds, Box 40584, Nairobi; D.K. Richards, Box 41951, 


Scopus welcomes original contributions in English on all aspects of East African 
ornithology. Contributions will be assessed by the Sub-Committee and by 
independent referees if necessary. The material published in Scopus will be 
divided into 'papers' and 'short communications', the latter will be less than 
two Scopus-pages in length. 

Contributions should be typed in double spacing, on one side of the paper only, 
with wide margins all round, and they should be submitted in duplicate . 
Exceptionally, clear hand-written MSS will be considered but these too should be 
sent in dx^ilicate. Both English and scientific names of birds should be given 
when the species is first mentioned, thereafter only one should be used. Normally, 
authorities should not be given. 

Illustrations should be on Bristol board or good quality white paper in line, 
i.e. black on white, and should not be larger than 29 x 18 cm. Lettering (in 
black) will be the responsibility of the author and should be done neatly using 
stencils or Letraset; due allowance should be made for reduction to the final 
printed size. Each illastration should be numbered (Fig.l, etc.) and provided 
with a legend typed on a separate sheet of paper. Photographs will be considered 
if they are absolutely necessary. 

Tables, which should also be numbered, should appear in the typescript and 
need not be on separate sheets of paper, unless they are large. 

Metric units should be used. If non-metric units were used in the original 
observation or experiment, the approximate metric equivalent should be given 
in brackets. 

Any references cited should be listed at the end of the contribution following 
the foirm used in this issue. Names of periodicals should be given in full. 
A number of works, which are likely to be cited frequently, should not be listed 
under references; the name of the author (s) and date(s) of publication shoiiLd be 
given in the text in the normal way. A list of the works concerned is given 
inside the back cover. 

Observers are asked to send in records of birds for inclusion in the annual 
East African bird report issue. Records which appear in the National Museums of 
Kenya Department of Om-ithology Newsletter will be reviewed for the annual report 
but, in the case of rare birds or birds showing an extension of range, f\iLl 
details sxopporting the record should be submitted, whether the record is sent to 
the Newsletter or Scopus - this will save correspondence later on. 

All contributions should be sent to Dr D.J. Pearson, Department of 
Biochemistry, Box 30197, Nairobi. 

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Saopus 1 (1) March 1977 


This is the first issue of ScopuSj a pxjblication produced by the Ornithological 
Sub-Committee of the East Africa Natural History Society. Scopus will be 
quarterly, plus an extra fifth issue, containing an annual East African bird 
report and reports on ornithological research being carried out in the three 
East African coxontries. Details of how to subscribe to Scopus are opposite. 

Instructions to contributors, who need not necessarily be subscribers or 
members of the E.A.N.H.S., are printed inside the cover, but a few words here 
on the envisaged nature of Scopus may be useful to authors. 

The need for a purely ornithological publication dealing with East Africa 
has been keenly felt and frequently expressed for many years. Although the 
Society already produces a Journal and a Bullet'tny both of which accept 
ornithological material, the Journal does not cater for shorter contributions. 
The Bulletin does however, but many authors seem to prefer to see their work 
in a publication which is purely ornithological, and in printed rather than 
duplicated form. These factors have given rise to the present situation, 
where notes on East African birds are published in various journals through- 
out the world; this scattering of information is far from satisfactory for 
anyone who wishes to keep up-to-date with the latest developments in the 
East African bird scene. 

There are certain unavoidable disadvantages to authors in using the present 
publication: at the moment, due to our tiny membership (thirty at the time of 
writing) , we are unable to offer free reprints - instead, authors can order 
extra copies of the whole issue of Scopus containing their work, and will be 
charged at cost. We cannot afford to use conventional printing, but it should 
be remembered that the photo-litho method used now offers considerably faster 
publication time in addition to being cheaper ^ 

Our present plans allow for approximately 120 pages a year, therefore 
extra long papers will normally be referred to the Editor of the Journal of the 
East Africa Natural History Society and National Museum for consideration. 
On the other hand, some contributions may be passed on to the Editor of the 
EANHS Bulletin if they are considered more suitable for that pxoblication. 

Records, which were to have been published in the Records Section of the 
Bulletin^ will be included in the annual bird report issue. Observers should 
send them to the Chairman of the Ornithological Siob-Committee with full 
supporting details in the case of rare birds, or birds out of their normal reinge 

Finally, it is hoped by the Ornithological Sub-Committee that ornithologists 
and all those interested in birds who have voiced their views on the need for 
such a publication, and have something relevant to contribute to East African 
ornithology, will now use Scopus^ and thus help to make it a success. 


Scopus 1 (1) March 1977 


D.A. Turner 

Forbes-Watson (1971) listed 34 species as endemic to East Africa, 18 of which 
were discussed by Hall & Moreau (1962) in their study of the rare birds of 
Africa. The present paper is designed to bring up to date our knowledge of the 
status and distribution of all East African endemic species. 

As can be seen from Table 1, almost 70 per cent, of the East African 
endemics occiir in montane areas at 1500 m and above, and are fairly evenly 
distributed between forest and non-forest habitats. However, with over 80 per 
cent, of these montane species occurring in Tanzania as against 60 per cent, in 
Kenya and only 8 per cent, in Uganda, the high percentage of endemism in 
Tanzanian montane forests can be appreciated, with the non-volcanic blocks of 
the Usambara and Ulugxoru movintains containing some of Africa's rarest and least 
known birds. These two relatively small montane areas of old crystalline rock 
contain avifaxanas far richer in species and endemics than the forests on the 
yovinger volcanic mountains to the north (Moreau 1966) . 

Lowland forest endemics are concentrated in the few remaining forest patches 
along the East African coast which, prior to the development of the coastal 
region, were undoubtedly more extensive. Today, the last remaining large area 
of forest is the Sokoke-Arabuko forest near Malindi which, imless very stringent 
conservation efforts are enforced, will soon be reduced to charcoal ashes and 
exotic pines causing the extinction of two, and possibly three, endemic species 
- all of which are already acutely threatened by the present forest destruction. 

Altogether 35 species are now recognized as endemic to East Africa (Kenya, 
Tanzania and Uganda), while an almost equally large nvimber of 'near endemics' 
are also present. These 'near endemics' are species which, although geographic- 
ally East African in their distribution and range, are found in a few localities 
outside the present political boundaries of Kenya, Tanzania and Ugemda. 
Similarly, a number of Kenya-Somali arid species qualify for the near endemic 

An account of the East African endemics follows. Unless stated otherwise, 
nomenclature follows Forbes-Watson (1971) . 

FRANCOLINUS RUFOPICTUS Grey-breasted Sptirfowl 

More or less confined to the Serengeti region of northern Tanzania, south to 
the Wembere steppe around Tabora. Near Olduvai in the south-eastern Serengeti 
it appears to be hybridizing with the Yellow-necked Spurfowl F. leuaoseepus . 
Hall (1963) considers that this species may possibly be a product of past 
hybridization between species that have since stabilized, and which has now 
established itself in an ecological island, i.e. the Serengeti acacia steppe^ 
Widespread throughout most of the Serengeti, being particularly numerous 
in the Seronera valley arovind the National Park headquarters. 


A Kenya montane endemic confined to highland forest areas between 2300 and 
3000 m on both sides of the Rift Valley. Generally found at the upper edge of 
the forest, in bamboo, and on moorlands. Widely distributed from Mt Keny^ to 
Mt Elgon (Forbes-Watson pers. comm.) being most numerous in the Aberdare and 
Mt Kenya forests. Member of a superspecies which is re^presented in montan^ 

East African endemics 

Ecological distribution of East African endemics 


MOOTANE (1500 m and above) 

a) Forest (11) 

Franoolinus jacksoni 
Tauraco hartlaubi 
Malaconotus alius 
Dryocichloides montanus 
Dryocichloides Icwei 
Bathmocercus winifredae 
Nectarinia loveridgei 
Neotarinia moreaui 
Anthreptes rubritorques 
Poeoptera kenrioki 
Cinnyricinclus femoralis 

b) Non- forest (12) 

Franoolinus rufopictus 
Trachyphonus uscmbiro 
Macronyx sharpei 
Prionops poliolopha 
Turdoides hypoleucos 
Turdoides hindei 
Cisticola hunteri 
Cisticola aberdare 
Parus fringillinus 
Euplectes jackscni 
Histurgops ruficauda 
Spreo hildebrandti 

Sub-totals (23) 















a) Forest (5) 

Otus ireneae 
Otus pembaensis 
Anthus sokokensis 
Anthreptes pallidigaster 
Ploceus golandi 

b) Non-forest (7) 

Agapomis fischeri 
Agapomis personata 
Mirafra williamsi 
Cisticola restricta 
Apalis karamojae 
Ploceus castaneiceps 
Ploceus spekeoides 

Totals (35) 


























* = introduced 

East African endemics 

•forests as remote as Mt Cameroion, Ethiopia and Angola. Although not recorded 
from Uganda, it probably occurs on the Uganda side of Mt Elgon. 


Although fairly common over much of Tanzania, this genus, a'part from the Red- 
headed Lovebird A. putlaria in western Kenya, is strangely absent in the wild 
state from much of Kenya, though introduced birds, escapees and even hybrids, 
are now found around Naivasha, Nairobi, and Mombasa. All records outside the 
normal range of the two species in Tanzania should, I feel, be treated as 
highly suspect and almost certainly refer to either introduced or escaped cage 
birds. Although they breed freely in captivity, little is known of the breeding 
behaviour of either species in the wild state. 

AGAPORNIS FISCHERI Fischer's Lovebird 

A fairly common and widespread Tanzanian endemic occurring to the south and east 
of Lake Victoria. Limits appear to be the Mbulu and Ngorongoro crater highlands 
in the east, and the Nzega and Singida areas in the south (Moreau 1945) . Common 
throughout much of the Serengeti National Park, also on the west side of Lake 
Eyasi and in the Singida area. While it does not actually come in contact with 
the Yellow-collared Lovebird A. personata in the wild, it has been introduced 
into the Tanga and Dar-es-Salaam areas, and appears to be successful and 
established alongside it in Dar-es-Salaam. 

Little is known of its breeding habits in the wild, except that breeding takes 
place in the Serengeti during the January-February rains, and a nest in a hole 
of a dead tree in the south-eastern Serengeti contained four young in February 
1973 (pers. obs.) . 

AGAPORNIS PERSONATA Yellow-collared Lovebird 

Another fairly common and widespread Tanzanian endemic occurring in northern, 
central and southern areas from Arusha south through Dodoma to the Ruaha and 
Lake Riikwa areas. It is particularly partial to baobab trees, and is common in 
Tarangire National Park and around Dodoma. Introduced into Dar-es-Salaam 
about 1928 and now well established alongside a smaller population of Fischer's 
Lovebird. As with fischeri, little is known of its breeding habits in the wild 
state, but it is known to nest in holes in baobab trees. 

A single sight record from Taveta in 1922 (Jackson 1938) constituted the sole 
Kenya record, but it may well have been an escape. However, it was introduced 
during the mid 1960s to the Mombasa area, and it now appears to be well 
established in the Nyali, Bamburi, and Kikambala areas to the north of the town. 

TAURACO HARTLAUBI Hartlaub's Turaco 

One of Kenya's most characteristic birds of highland forest areas, occupying 
almost exclusively (except for the extreme south-west) all Kenya highland 
forests above 1800 m , north to Kulal and south to Longido, the Chyulu and Taita 
Hills (Moreau 1958) . In northern Tanzania common in all montane forests on 
Mt Meru, Mt Kilimanjaro, the Pares, and West Usambaras, while in eastern Uganda 
it is recorded from Mts Kadam, Moroto, and Morongole . Fairly common in forests 
around Nairobi and occurring as high as 3000 m on Mt Kenya, Mt Elgon and the 

East African endenrios 

OTUS IRENEAE Sokoke Scops Owl 

One of East Africa's most recently described species. First found in April 
1965 in the Sokoke forest to the north of Mombasa., it constituted a major 
discovery in African ornithology. 

This small and little known scops owl is confined to the Spkoke-Arabuko forest, 
and although believed more common than originally thought, the present forest 
destruction in the area poses a very serious threat to its existence. 
Although difficult to locate, its tinkerbird-like call is very distinctive at 
night . 

See Ripley (1966) for a full description of the type; he regards it as a 
member of a superspecies with the Sandy Scops Owl 0. icterorhynohus of West 
Africa. The nest and eggs are undescribed. 


Rare and little known; confined to Pemba Island to the north of Zanzibar. 
Although Pakenham (1939) in his description of the bird and its habitat 
described it as common all over the island, inhabiting clove plantations as 
well as natural forest, there have been no further records. The nest and eggs 
are undescribed 

A member of a superspecies with the Madagascar Scops Owl 0. rutilus; it was 
originally described as a race of rutilus but was later given species status 
by Benson (1960) . 

If it can exist in plantations as well as in natural forest, as stated by 
Pakenham, it may not be as threatened by rural development and forest 
destruction as other coastal endemics. 

TEACHYPHONUS USAMBIRO Black-billed d'Arnaud's Barbet 

Originally described as a race of d'Arnaud's Barbet T. darnaudiij but recently 
given specific rank by Wickler (1973). Differs from other races of d'Arnaud's 
Barbet in having an all black bill and a totally different call. A fairly 
common resident in the Mara Game Reserve of south-western Kenya and in the 
Serengeti National Park in northern Tanzania, extending west to Lake Victoria 
around Mwanza. 

MIRAFRA WILLIAMSI Williams' Bush-Lark 

Rare emd little known; recorded from only two localities in northern Kenya - in 
Marsabit district and to the east of Isiolo, some 320 km south of Marsabit. It 
has been recorded in short grass country or overgrazed grassland, always on 
black lava soil. Nest and eggs are undescribed. 

Tentatively placed in a superspecies with M. cordfaniaa of the sub-Saharan 
steppe by Hall & Moreau (1970) . 


Rare and little known; unique in that it is found in coastal Brachystegia 
forest and forest edge, in areas where there are scattered shrubby thickets and 
moderate grass growth. Known only from the Sokoke and Gedi forests on the Kenya 
coast, where it is undoubtedly a rare bird. In Tanzania, recorded from a small 
area of scrubby forest at Moa near Tanga, and from the Pugu Hills forest to the 
west of Dar-es-Salaara. There are, however, no recent records from either 

East African enderrrics 

locality, and the nest and eggs are still undescribed. Always shy and difficult 
to observe as it is rarely seen xontil flushed, whereupon it is easily lost to 
sight in low and patchy \mdergrowth. Probably more common prior to rural 
development of the coastal region, a,s undoubtedly its required or preferred 
habitat was then more extensive than today. Also, the present forest destruction 
of the Sokoke poses a serious threat to the bird's continued survival. 

MACRONYX SHARPEI Sharpe's Longclaw 

A fairly common Kenya montane longclaw, generally found in areas of open grass- 
land at altitudes of between 2000-2500 m on both sides of the ftift Valley. 
Recently recorded from Mt Elgon (Britton & Sugg 1973) on alpine moorland at 
3350 m and, as such, quite probably occurs also on the Uganda side of the 
mountain. Common on the Kinangop and Mau plateaux and around Nyahururu Falls 
(formerly Thomson's Falls) in central Kenya. 

Placed in a superspecies with the Abyssinian Longclaw M. flavioollis of the 
Ethiopian highlands by Hall & Moreau (1970) . 

PRIONOPS POLIOLPHA Grey-crested Helmet-Shrike 

A local and uncommon species, found sparingly in south-western Kenya and 
northern areas of the Serengeti National Park in northern Tanzania. Due to 
recent rural development it has probably completely disappeared from the Kedong 
Valley /Naivasha area (the type locality) , as there have been no recent records 
from the area at all. Very little is known of its breeding biology, or why it 
appears to have such a restricted range. 

MALACONOTUS ALIUS Black-Cap Bush-Shrike 

One of Africa's rarest and most restricted birds, of which nothing is known in 
life. Confined to the Uluguru mountains in eastern Tanzania, although there 
have been no records since the early 1950s when a few specimens were collected 
by a local sisal planter (Friedmann & Stager 1964) . Prior to this, no records 
since its discovery in 1927 in the forest canopy at an altitude of 1500-1800 m . 

Hall & Moreau (1970) place it in a superspecies with the Grey-headed Bush-Shrike 
M. blanchot'i though it differs from all others in this superspecies in having 
a black, not grey, head. 

(Note that the English name of Tohagra rrrinuta^ a widespread species over much 
of Africa, is 'Blackcap Bush-Shrike'.) 


Irwin & Clancey (1974) introduce a new genus Dryoo-ichloides for seven species 
of small forest robins which previously had been included in Cossypha and 
Dessonomis by Hall & Moreau (1970) . The Tanzanian endemic montanus and lowei. 
superspecies are discussed below. 


Rare and little known; confined to the forest floor of the West Usambaras, 
north-eastern Tanzania at an altitude of around 1800m. Ripley & Heinrich 
(1966) describe birds from near Shume (around 2000 m) as silent and unobtrusive, 
living in shaded lower vegetation of montane cloud forest, feeding on driver 
ants alongside the White-starred Bush-Robin Pogonooichla steltata and White- 
chested Alethe Alethe fueltehomi. They also consider D. montanus and D. lowei 

East African endemics 

conspecific, based on the previously undescribed juvenile plxomages; also, they 
believe the whole ecology and behaviour of the two to be alike. Nest and eggs, 
however, remain xandescribed. 

Whereas Iinvin & Clancey (1974) make no reference to the Ripley & Heinrich 
observations, I feel that, for the time being, in the light of their findings 
these two forest robins should be treated separately. 


Extremely rare and little known; recorded only from the high montane forest in 
the Iringa and Njombe highlands of southern Tanzania, at altitudes of between 
2000 and 2400 m. The nest and eggs are undescribed. 


Locally common, occurring in varying numbers from central and southern Kenya 
south to central and east Tanzania. Common in and around Nairobi where it is 
found in noisy groups in many residential areas . Although less common in 
Tanzania, it is frequently observed in the Lake Manyara and Tarangire National 
Parks . 


A rare and little known species recorded from only the Athi River, Kitui, Murang'a 
(formerly Fort Hall) , and Donyo Sabuk areas of eastern and central Kenya. An 
extremely variable species, all individuals are fairly large, mottled dark brown, 
white and rufous, with no two birds ever apparently alike. A scaly pattern 
always appears to predominate and some birds have traces of arrow-markings on 
the breast feathers. Indeed, the individual variations suggest a possible 
hybrid population, and both the Northern Pied Babbler and the Arrow-marked 
Babbler T. gardinei have been collected in the same localities as hindei^ thus 
showing as, some characteristics of both these species occur in all specimens of 
hindei.^ it is possible that hybridization may be taking place. It may be 
mentioned though that all specimens are indeed both larger and more rufous than 
either of the other two species. 

CISTICOLA ABERDARE Aberdare Cisticola 

Originally described as a race of the Stout Cisticola C. robusta from the 
Aberdare mountains of central Kenya, but recently given species status by 
Tray lor (1967b). Although syinpatric with robusta in a number of areas, it 
normally prefers the higher altitudes from 2300-3700m in the Kenya highlands, 
and on both sides of the Rift Valley, while robusta is rarely found above 2400m. 
It is plentiful around Molo and Mau Narok, being the commonest cisticola in the 
highland grasslcinds around 2400 m. 

Its most notable character is the colour of the tail, which, apart from the buff 
tips, is entirely black. Also there is no rusty nape as in robusta^ and the 
dark streaking of the hind crown extends down over the nape. 


Recently red-sed to species level by Tray lor (1967a) . Specimens are from the 
lower Tcma River basin area around Karawa, Ijara, and Sangole on or near the 
Kenya coast north of Malindi. They resemble a pale medium-sized grey-brown 
version of the Ashy Cisticola C. cinereola, but differ in that they lack the 

East African endemics 

white bases to the nape feathers, have a rusty wash to feathers on top of the 
head and nape, which are in contrast to the grey-brown back, and have a grey 
wash on the sides of the breast and flanks which is not present in cinereoZa. 
The tail is proportionately longer than in einereola. 

APALIS KARAMOJAE Karamoja Cisticola 

Extremely rare and little known, with an extraordinary distribution in eastern 
Uganda and north-central Tanzania. 

Previously known only from the base of Mt Kadam and the lower slopes of Mt 
Moroto in eastern and north-eastern Uganda; a small group was recently 
observed in Kidepo National Park (Elliott 1972) , and a specimen collected at 
Itumba, close to the Wembere depression near Nzega in north-central Tanzania. 
ThiP ' " "ome 300 km south of, and across Lake Victoria from the Uganda local- 
i' . The wide separation of localities could possibly be due to extensive 
riiral development and cultivation around Lake Victoria, thus clearing the orig- 
inal habitat, which possibly extended around the eastern side of the lake in 
earlier times. Nest and eggs are still undescribed. 


Another rare and little known species, recorded only from the Uluguru and 
Ukaguru mountains of eastern Tanzania. Montane, occurring from 1500-2000 m in 
forest where there is an abundance of thick undergrowth and creeper-covered 
trees; favours areas where trees have been cut out and dense secondary growth 
has developed. Usually in pairs on or close to the ground, extremely shy and 
difficult to locate except by call. Nest and eggs are xandescribed. 

Not uncommon around Bunduki in the Ulugurus and, although undoubtedly threat- 
ened by habitat destruction in the area, it may be able to survive in the 
secondary growth if this is dense enough. 


Although a rather local and generally uncommon species, it is found throughout 
Masailand in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania. Fairly common in the Mara 
Game Reserve in south-western Kenya and in the Serengeti and Arusha National 
Parks in northern Tanzania. Reaches the Nairobi area at the Nairobi National 
Park where it is frequently seen in the Athi River Hippo Pool area. Always 
occurs in areas of open acacia woodland where it competes with the White- 
bellied Tit P. albiventris . Forms a superspecies with the Cinnamon-breasted 
Tit P. rufiventr-is (Hall & Moreau 1970) . 


Rather restricted and little known; confined to the Ulugiirus in eastern 
Tanzania. Fairly common around Bunduki, from 800-2000 m in both primary and 
secondary growth; breeds from September to February (Mackworth-Praed & Grant 
1960) . It appears to be a very adaptable, species, for despite continued 
encroachment of its habitat by native cultivation it continues to be fairly 
common, both in the remaining forest and outside (Williams 1951) . 

A member of a rather complex superspecies comprising many closely related 
montane doxoble-collared sxmbirds. 

East African endemics 


Another little knovm species confined to forest edges in the Usambara and Nguru 
mountains of north-eastern and eastern Tanzania, occurring between 900 and 
1500 m. A canopy and tree-top bird occurring in both lowland and highland 
forest in the East and West Usambaras; fairly common at Amani (East Usambaras) . 
Moreau (1937) describes the nest, but the eggs still remaih undescribed. Forms 
a superspecies with the Green S\anbirds A. reotirostris and A. tephrotaema of 
western Kenya, Uganda and across to West Africa. 


A venry distinctive but little known forest simbird, found in the Sokoke-Arabuko 
forest on the Kenya coast, and from the East Usambaras in north-eastern Tanzania 
where it occurs up to 900m at Amani. A canopy species, not uncommon in the 
Sokoke forest, where it is seen either singly or in pairs, as a member of 
mixed bird parties in the more open areas of the Brachystegia woodland. Quite 
possibly occurs in other areas of coastal lowland forest, but is a species 
acutely threatened by forest destruction. The nest and eggs remain iindescribed. 


Widespread and locally common in Kenya and northern Tanzania, but found only to 
the east of the Rift Valley. In Kenya it is common in the Samburu Game Reserve, 
and abxandant in Amboseli and around Lake Jipe in Tsavo National Park, while in 
Tanzania it is common arovmd Arusha and at the base of the Usambaras . 

A species easily confused with the Golden Palm Weaver P. bo;ieri and the Golden 
Weaver P. subaureus and is sympatric with both in a number of areas. However, 
eye colour and breeding behaviour easily provide positive identification 
characters: the eye colo\ir is dark (almost black) compared with brown in bojeri 
and red in subaureus. Breeds exclusively over water in reeds or bullrushes, 
while bojeri breeds in bushes and palm trees and rarely, if ever, over water. 
On the other hand, subaureus sometimes breeds over water, but its eye is always 


Very restricted and little known, apparently confined to swampy areas in north- 
east Teso district of eastern Uganda, to the north-east of Scroti, though 
presumably occurring elsewhere in suitable localities in the Lake Kyoga area. 
The nest and eggs appear to be undescribed, though breeding is reported to take 
place during July and August (Mann 1976) . 

Similar in appearance to Speke's Weaver P. spekei^ but the ranges would never 
overlap and the habitats are so different. 

PLOCEUS GOLANDI Clarke's Weaver 

Rare and little known, apparently confined to the Sokoke-Arabuko forest near 
Malindi on the Kenya coast, and yet another bird which is threatened by current 
forest destruction in the area. Although certainly more common in the Sokoke 
forest than originally thought, and possibly occurring in other coastal forests 
as well, it is subject to considerable local movements, and months go by without 
a single sighting; then, quite suddenly, large flocks will be seen in mixed 
bird parties, often in association with helmet-shrikes Prionops spp. 

The nest and eggs are still undescribed, and it is thought that it may possibly 

10 East African endemics 

breed outside the forest during its periods of unexplained absence. It may form 
a superspecies with Weyn's Weaver P. weynsii of Zaire and western Uganda, 
another equally rare and little known forest weaver, also subject to considerable 
local movements. 

EUPLECTES JACKSONI Jackson's Widow-Bird 

A fairly common and conspicuous bird of highland grassland, occurring through- 
out the Kenya highlands where at times it is abundant above Nakuru and aro\and 
Nyahurxiru Falls, while in northern Tanzania recorded only from the Loliondo 
and Ngorongoro crater highlands. Common around Nairobi, breeding regularly in 
the Nairobi National Park and suitable areas of Kabete, Karen and Langata. 

HISTURGOPS RUFICAUDA Rufous-tailed Weaver 

East Africa's sole endemic genus, and largely confined to the Serengeti region 
of northern Tanzania, though extending east to the Ngorongoro crater high- 
lands and Lake Manyara, and south to the Wembere steppe region near Tabor a - in 
fact a very similar distribution to that of Fischer's Lovebird which does 
associate to some degree with Histurgops^ see Turner & Pitman (1965) . A common 
bird in the southern Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, and to the west of Lake Eyasi. 

POEOPTERA KENRICKI Kenrick's Starling 

A highland forest species occurring fairly commonly on Mt Meru, Mt Kilimanjaro, 
the Usambara and Uluguru mountains in north-eastern and eastern Tanzania, while 
in Kenya recorded only from Mt Kenya, where it is at times common aroxmd the 
Irangi and Castle Forest Stations in Embu district, often in company with other 
tree-top starlings in mixed bird parties. Nests in holes in trees, but the eggs 
are vmdescribed. 

Forms a superspecies with the Narrow-tailed Starling P. lugnbris and Stuhlmann's 
Starling P. stuhlmanni. Whereas the ranges of kenricki and stuhlmanni come 
close to each other in central Kenya, separated only by the Rift Valley, eye 
colour easily separates the two: yellow in stuhlmanni and dark slate in 
kenricki . 


An extremely local and little known montane species. Quite common above 1800 m 
on Mt Kilimanjaro and also at times on Mt Kenya around the Irangi and Castle 
Forest Stations in Embu district. It is extremely scarce in the forests of 
Mt Meru and in the Arusha National Park, and no recent records at all from 
the Chyulu Hills. Nest and eggs undescribed. Forms a superspecies with Sharpe'; 
Starling C. sharpei and the Violet-backed Starling C. teucogaster. 

SPREO HILDEBRANDTI Hildebrandt's Starling 

Fairly common and widespread throughout southern Kenya and northern Tanzania, 
occurring as far north as the Sambiaru district in Kenya, and south to central 
Tanzania. Quite common around Nairobi, particularly in the Athi River basin 
area. A hole-nesting species, unlike other members of the genus, and has 
recently been recorded as host to the Great Spotted Cuckoo Clamator glandarius 
in northern Tanzania. 

East African endemics 11 


I am most grateful to A.D. Forbes-Watson for his invaluable comments 
and assistance in the preparation of this paper. 


BENSON, C.W. 1960. Birds of the Comoro Islands. Ibis I03tj: 61-62. 

BRITTON, P.L. & SUGG, M.StJ. 1973. Birds recorded on the Kimilili track. Mount 
Elgon. Journal of the East Africa Natural History Society & National 
Museum 143: 1-7. 

ELLIOTT, C.C.H. 1972. An ornithological survey of the Kidepo National Park, 
northern Uganda, ibidem 129: 1-31. 

FRIEDMANN, H. & STAGER, K.E. 1964. Results ^ the 1964 Cheney Tanganyikan 
expedition. Ornithology. Contributions in Science 84: 1-50. 

HALL, B.P. 1963. The fr'ancolins. A study in speciation. Bulletin of the British 
Museum (Natural History) 10 (2): 107-204. 

& MOREAU, R.E. 1962. A study of the rare birds of Africa, ibidem 

8 (7): 316-378. 

IRWIN, M.P.S. & CLANCEY, P. A. 1974. A re-appraisal of the generic relationships 
of some African forest-dwelling robins (Aves: Turdidae) . Amoldia Rhodesia 
6 (34): 1-19. 

MANN, C.F. 1976. The birds of Teso District, Uganda. Journal of the East Africa 
Natural History Society & National Museum. 156: 1-16. 

MOREAU, R.E. 1937. Biological and other notes on some East African Birds. 
Ibis 14th series, vol 1 (2): 321-345. 

1945. The dwarf parrots Agapornis of Tanganyika. Tanganyika Notes 

& Records 19: 23-25. 

1958. Some aspects of the Musophagidae . Ibis 100: 67-112, 238-270. 

PAKENHAM, R.H.W. 1939. Field notes on the birds of Zanzibar and Pemba. Ibis 
14th series, vol 3 (3): 522-554. 

RIPLEY, S.D. 1966. A notable owlet from Kenya. Ibis 108: 136-137. 

& HEINRICH, G. 1966. Comments on the avifauna of Tanzania. 

Postilla 96: 20-22. 

TRAYLOR, M.A. 1967a. A new species of Cisticola. Bulletin of the British 
Ornithologists' Club. 87: 45-48. 

1967b. Cisticola aberdare a good species, ibidem 87: 137-141. 

TURNER, M. & PITMAN, C. 1965. Nesting habits and eggs of the Rufous-tailed 
Weaver Histurgops ruficauda. ibidem 85: 10-14. 

WILLIAMS, J.G. 1951. Notes on Scepomycter winifredae and Cinnyris loveridgei. 
Ibis 93: 469-470. 

WICKLER, W. 1973. Artunterschiede im Duettgesang zwischen Trachyphonus d'amaudii 
usambiro und den anderen Unterarten von T. d'amaudii. Journal fUr Omith- 
ologie 114: 123-128. 

(Received 15 February 1977) 

12 Scopus 1 (1) March 1977 Ngulia^ 1976/77 


G.C. Backhui^st & D.J. Pearson 


Southward- flying Palaearctic night migrants crossing Tsavo during November and 
December are grounded on most nights on the Ngulia ridge by mist and rain. The 
attraction of large numbers to the floodlights of Ngulia Safari Lodge was first 
observed in 1969 by A.D. Forbes-Watson, and was studied in detail in late 1972 
and early January 1973. An account of the site and earlier observations is 
given by Pearson & Backhurst (1976) . Ringing at the Lodge has now become a 
regular feature of the late autumn/early winter; the 1976/77 season being the 
fifth in which near continuous daily coverage has been maintained over several 
weeks, interrupted only by full moon periods when the lights lose their 
attractive effect. The Ngulia phenomenon depends on the fact that the migration 
of several passerine species from north-eastern Africa to Tanzania and farther 
south is concentrated to the east of Mts Kenya and Kilimanjaro. This movement, 
or all but its early stages, coincides each year with a time when mist or rain 
occur almost nightly at Ngulia. An interesting assortment of Ethiopian species 
is encoimtered on the move at night with this avalanche of Palaearctic birds, 
but these are not discussed in the present account. 

The Lodge was manned in 1976 from 15 November, immediately after a full moon 
period, and then continuously \antil the next moon intervened on 4 December. 
The coverage was almost as complete between 12 December and 2 January 1977. 
Finally, six days were worked during the new moon period of mid to late January. 
The season produced the most spectacular fall of birds yet witnessed at the 
Lodge, and a record number of nearly 5000 Palaearctic birds was ringed in all. 
This included four species new for Ngulia, bringing the overall Palaearctic 
species total since 1969 to 36. 

Mist must descend practically to ground level for birds to be brought down 
at the Lodge effectively. During the 1976 peak migration period, cloud cover at 
night remained all too often 30m or more above the building, with only occasion- 
al lower patches or rain showers. The large ringing total was therefore due 
more to complete coverage, with several ringers present at times, and to increas- 
ed catching effort at night, than to the weather. Although moderate numbers of 
birds were present at dawn on most mornings, only four really large arrivals 
were recorded, fewer than in most years. 

The rains were particularly late in breaking, but were the best for at least 
four years, showers and heavy mists continuing until the end of January. With 
Tsavo lush and green, passage migrants remained in the Park in numbers later 
into January than usual, and nightly movements trickled on after the main 
migration, throughout late December and January. Thus, although little inform- 
ation was obtained on the early stages of the movement, a considerable body of 
data was collected on birds grounded late in the season. 

The period 15-21 November was practically dry, and the Ngulia area arid and 
leafless. Cloud developed over the Lodge on most nights, but rarely descended. 
Heavy migration was already in progress, for hundreds of passerines were at 
times watched moving south above the lights . Of the few birds seen to alight in 
the scant cover in front of the Lodge, most quickly took off again. Numbers 
groiinded at dawn each day never exceeded a few hundred. The occasional Rufous 
Bush Chat Cercotvichas galactotes was caught in the building at night, but 
trapping was virtually confined to the bushes south of the Lodge at dawn. The 
largest catches of 57 Palaearctics on 17th, and 87 on 20th, followed nights with 

Ngulia^ 1976/77 13 

a touch of drizzle. Whitethroats Sylvia oorrmvcnis and Marsh Warblers 
Aarooe'phalus palustris dominated the week's catching, although Sprossers 
Lusainia luscn-n-ia were surprisingly few. Several Red-tailed Shrikes Lanius 
isabetl-inus y olivaceous Warblers Hippotais pallida^ and Basra Reed Warblers 
Acroaephalus griseldis were caught. 

The rains finally broke on the evening of 21 November, when Ngulia experienced 
a heavy downpour, with low cloud patches, lasting until 21.00 hrs. Birds appear- 
ed around the lights immediately after dark, and were in many hundreds two hours 
later. The sky cleared later at night, however, and almost all these migrants 
moved on, for a mere 32 were caught next morning. The following night cloud 
again descended soon after dark, and heavy rain fell from 23.00 hrs until 01. OO 
hrs on 23rd. Mist thickened and persisted to ground level all night, with a few 
further showers nearer dawn. The ensuing landfall of birds was judged to have 
been the greatest ever seen at the Lodge, and it is unfortunate that this was 
one of the occasions when only a single ringer was present. One net within the 
building caught over 100 birds in less than half an hourl Some 2000 were 
estimated near dawn, crowding every small branch of the two light-supporting 
trees immediately outside, and many thousands carpeted the ground below. The 
true magnitude of this fall, estimated at over 100 OOO birds, became apparent at 
dawn, when every net set in the bush filled to capacity within 15 min as birds 
dispersed in droves for the thicker cover at the head of the valley. The day's 
ringing total of nearly 500 did little justice to the occasion, and would 
certainly have been trebled had an efficient small team been present. This fall 
was again dominated by Whitethroats and Marsh Warblers, and the species variety 
was somewhat limited. However, Sprossers (80 ringed) appeared for the first 
time in large nvimbers, whilst Red-backed Shrikes Lanius aollvcpio (13 ringed) , 
Olive-tree Warblers Eippolais olivetorum (6 ringed) , and practically the first 
of the season's River Warblers LoQUSteVla fiuviatitis (5 ringed) were also note- 
worthy . 

After more very heavy rain on the morning of 23 November, a drier spell 
intervened. Large falls of birds on 24th and 25th were due to low mist just 
before dawn. Some measure of the density of overhead migration at this time may 
be gathered from the fact that just one hour of mist on 24th and an hour and a 
half on 25th resulted in catches in the bush of over 200 and almost 300 respect- 
ively, the fall on the latter morning being estimated at over 10 000 birds. 
Sprossers were now as nimierous as Marsh Warblers, and more River Warblers and 
Iranias Irania gutturaZis were appearing. From 26-28 November cloud at night 
remained too high; there was no rain, and when low mist patches did appear they 
lifted quickly. Consequently falls of birds were small. Three hundred migrants 
ringed did, however, include an unprecedented 25 Basra Reed Warblers. 

Early on 29th low mist with showers from 02.30 hrs produced the last major 
fall of the season on a day on which several ringers were present. Over 450 
migrants of 21 species were ringed, including 29 River Warblers and all five of 
the African -wintering Aorooephatus species. The next night was clear and bird- 
less, but between 1 and 3 December storms and mist patches resulted in consider- 
able falls and activity at night, and a further 800 migrants were caught. At 
02.30 hrs on 3rd, little was visible in the mist aroxind the lights, but birds 
began dropping in at precisely 03.15 hrs when the moon set. A Wood Warbler 
Phyllosoopus sibilatrix and a juvenile Lesser Cuckoo Cuoulus poliocephalus 
caught after dawn this day, were new to the Ngulia ringing list, and 3 December 
was also notable for record catches of Sprossers (164) , Iranias (26) and 
Nightingales Luscinia megarhynohos (9) . 

With a half moon rising just after midnight, Ngulia was revisited on 12 
December. On this and the following night rain and cloud cleared well before 
dawn, and catches were negligible. Early on 14th, however, ground level mist 
persisted after heavy rain. Migrant numbers were markedly less than in similar 

14 Ngulia^ 1976/77 

weather two weeks earliet, but still considerable, with birds entering the 
Lodge, and hundreds settling immediately outside. A catch of over 200 consisted 
mainly of Whitethroats, but included five Upcher's Warblers Hippolais Icmguida 
and a E\iropean Nightjar Caprimutgus europeaus. Over a period of continuous 
manning from 18 December to 2 Jcinuary, dense mist and showers occurred almost 
every night. Birds no longer entered the buildings in any numbers, but smaller 
arrivals continued, with dawn falls of 1000 birds or so on some occasions. A 
total of 1600 birds ringed in 15 days included catches ;anprecedented so late in 
the year, but involved relatively few Lusoinia spp., no Olive-tree Warblers and 
only three Rufous Bush C3iats. Siibstantial nxombers of Willow Warblers 
PhyZlosoopus troohilus^ Upcher's Warblers, Iranias and Barred Warblers Sylvia 
nisoria were caught, and of particular interest were a Eurasian Cuckoo Cuculus 
oanorus on 19 December, new to the ringing list, and a late European Nightjar on 
1 January. 

Although movement across Ngulia seemed to have vastly decreased, numbers of 
passage migrants utilising the now thick green cover around Ngulia were far 
higher at the end than at the beginning of December. By mid January, with 
continued rain, the rank grass and scattered low bush had reached a luxuriance 
not seen since early 1973. Numbers of passage Marsh Warblers and River Warblers 
had decreased, but Whitethroats, Barred Warblers and Garden Warblers Sylvia 
borin were as numerous as ever. The Lodge lights were still exerting a 
concentrating effect, but of the few birds caught in the mist on the move at 
night - mostly Whitethroats - many were in active wing moult. This suggested 
that short range movements were involved. A Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus 
netted on 16 January was new to Ngulia. By 2 3-25 January Marsh Warblers had 
become scarce, but many new Whitethroats, the latest ever River Warblers, and no 
fewer than ten new Garden Warblers and six Iranias on 23rd were evidence of a 
continued trickle of birds. 


Ngulia has been worked thoroughly for five seasons, yet we still know rather 
little about the early stages of the southward movement. Because of lack of 
mist or rain there have been few opportiinities to sample overhead migration late 
in October and early November, and to determine just when it usually begins. 
Moderate falls accompanied rain as early as the second week of November 1973. 
In 1974 heavy mist on 27 October produced very few migrants, whereas wet weather 
brought much larger falls on 6 and 8 November, and huge arrivals of Sprossers 
and Whitethroats occurred daily with the onset of regular rain from 12th. The 
first week of November 1975 produced a scattering of migrants, with dozens seen 
flying at night in overhead mist on 3rd. Ten days later, in similar weather, 
there was far more activity. With no further early season information from 
1976, the present evidence indicates that migration gets under way early in 
November, increasing to full force by the third week of the month. 

A sudden decrease in nxambers at the lights was recorded about the middle of 
December in 1972, 1974 and again in 1976, and only a few days earlier in 1975. 
Peak migration thus seems to last from the third (or second) week of November 
until the second week of December. Its timing varies little from year to year, 
and seems not to be much influenced by local conditions. Indeed, migration is 
usually well established before the rains break in Tsavo, and is largely over 
before the resulting flush of vegetation reaches its height. Few birds are 
usually caught at Ngulia after about 25 December. In 1972/73 and 1976/77, 
however, continued smaller arrivals at the end of December and until well into 
January were associated with a prolonged rainy season and lush cover in the 
thombush belt of eastein Kenya. December passage birds presumably have more 
tendency to break their migration in Kenya in such years, moving on to southern 
Africa later than usual. 

Hgulia^ 1976/77 




Niartoers of Palaearotio night migrants ringed at Ngulia 
between Oatoher-Febrvuiry in the years 1969-1977 

69/71 72/73 73/74 74/75 75/76 76/77 69/77 

Spotted Crake 


Lesser Cuckoo 


Red-backed Shrike 

Red-tailed Shrike 

Red-backed/tailed Shrike* 

Tree Pipit 

Yellow Wagtail 

Golden Oriole 

Spotted Flycatcher 

Great Reed Warbler 

Basra Reed Warbler 

Marsh Warbler 

Sedge Warbler 

Reed Warbler 

Upcher's Warbler 

Olive-tree Warbler 

Olivaceous Warbler 

River Warbler 

Savi's Warbler 

Willow Warbler 

Wood Warbler 


Garden Warbler 

White throat 

Barred Wcirbler 

Rufous Bush Chat 




Rock Thrush 

Isabelline Wheatear 


Pied Wheatecir 


Swallow (at night) 

Number of species 

Total ringed 

* = hybrid 

Scientific names of species in Table 1 which are not mentioned in the text: 
Spotted Crake Porzana porzana; Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus; Spotted Flycatcher 
Musciaapa striata; Savi's Warbler Locustella luscinioides ; Blackcap Sylvia 
atrioapilla; Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe. 














































































































































































































18 945 

FrcMn the experience of late 1976 it is cleau: that grounded birds move on again 
if the mist clears and the sky remains visible for any length of time. If the 
mist is thin and patchy, the size of the fall remaining at dawn is vastly less 

16 NguUa, 1976/77 

than the niomber of birds visiting the lights and briefly alighting at night. 

Table 1 shows totals of species ringed each year between October and mid 
February. Whitethroat, Marsh Warbler and Sprosser have consistently been the 
three major species involved, followed by River Warbler and, usually, Irania. 
Even amongst the minor species, little difference has emerged from year to year, 
although Garden Warblers featured prominently in 1972/73, whereas Olivaceous 
Warblers, Nightingales and Red-backed Shrikes were scarce. The 1976/77 season 
was notable for the total of 68 Basra Reed Warblers ringed, mostly early on. 
The bulk of the large Willow Warbler catch, the 43 Upcher's Warblers, and the 
larger than usual totals of Reed Warblers Aarooephalus soirpace.uSj Sedge Warblers 
A. schoenobaenuSj and Great Reed Warblers A. arundinaceus were accounted for by 
the extra activity late in the season. Over the years, Sprosser, Nightingale, 
Olive-tree Warbler, Rufous Bush Chat, Red-backed Shrike and Red-tailed Shrike 
have emerged as species which cross Ngulia mainly or entirely by the first week 
of December, whilst Upcher's Warbler, Barred Warbler, Garden Warbler, Irania and 
Whitethroat feature more noticeably at the end of the season, and appear to have 
a more prolonged migration period. 

It is surprising that, since they winter commonly in Tsavo, arriving mainly 
during December, Rock Thrushes Montioola saxatitis^ Isabelline Wheatears 
Oenanthe isahellina and Pied Wheatears 0. iplesahanka are so seldom caught at the 
lights. Although they move arovmd the Park a great deal, they seem not to cross 
the ridge in any numbers at night. Finally, mention should be made of species 
which, although commonly recorded migrating at Ngulia at night, are rarely 
caught. Tree Pipits Anthus tvividlis are heard calling in large numbers on most 
misty nights in November, and many hundreds must at times pass south. Only the 
occasional bird, or small party, has ever been seen by day. Yellow Wagtails 
UotadVta flava also pass over calling, in smaller numbers in November, whilst 
flocks of Swallows Hirimdo rustica are at times disorientated by the mist; 
occasionally Sand Martins Riparia riparia have been heard at night. 

Of the data collected on Ngulia migrants, weights have proved to be partic- 
ularly interesting and informative. Grounded birds are often fat, and weights 
20-50 per cent, above those typical of lean birds are commonly recorded in many 
species. Taken as indicators of potential flight range, weights, together with 
visible fat ratings, indicate a tendency for migratory flight to continue far 
south of Ngulia in some species but not in others. Whitethroats , Olive-tree 
Warblers, Marsh Warblers and Red-backed Shrikes, for example, are often fat, 
whereas Olivaceous Warblers, Upcher's Warblers, Iranias, Rufous Bush Chats and 
Red-tailed Shrikes never are, and are presumed to be grounded either on short 
flights or at the end of longer ones. 

Significantly more fat birds are grounded in some seasons than others, and 
the end of November and beginning of December have consistently produced higher 
weights than either mid November or mid and late December. The 1976/77 season 
produced higher weights in most species than found for several years. Two 
species in particular deserve comment: a number of fat Barred Warblers and 
Basra Reed Warblers were caught in late November, up to 40 and 60 per cent, 
respectively above 'lean weight'. On account of the high weights noted occasion- 
ally in these species in 1972/73, it was suggested (Pearson & Backhurst 1976) 
that they wintered farther south in Africa than records then indicated. Basra 
Reed Warblers have since been discovered in considerable numbers in southern 
Malawi (D.B. Hanmer, in litt.) and there are two recent records from 17*3 in 
Mozambique (Clancey 1975) . We know of only one record of the Barred Warbler 
from Tanzania (Moreau 1937) , but this must surely be a bird which winters 
commonly south of the Kenyan border, and perhaps well to the south. 

Over the years, large falls of migrants have several times resulted from 

NguHaj 1976/77, Honey guides 17 

heavy storms with thick, widespread cloud. Such weather has usually produced 
significantly more fat birds than appear in falls due to mist or local showers. 
Thus, for example, in 1976/77, weights were higher on 23 November than on 24th 
or 25th. Why axe fat birds less prone to being grounded by mist alone? Do they 
tend to fly higher than lean birds, normally clearing the local cloud associated 
with the ridge? Future observation at the Lodge may help to answer such 
intriguing questions. 


Once again, we would like to thank E.G. Goss, Warden of Tsavo National 
Pcurk (West) , for allowing us to catch and ring at the Lodge. During 1976/77, 
B. Fimister, the Lodge Manager, and Mrs V. Fimister gave invaluable support 
and assistance for which we are extremely grateful. Other local or visiting 
ringers for whose help we are most grateful include Mrs D.E.G. Baclchurst, 
P.L. & Mrs H.A. Britton, Mrs J. Dirks, R.J. Dowsett, P. Lack, Mile F. Lemaire, 
and G. Zink. 


CLANCEY, P. A. 1975. The Great Reed Warbler Aorooephalus arundinaoeus (Linnaeus) 
in the South African Sub-Region. Durban Museum Novitates lO: 232-238. 

MOREAU, R.E. 1937. Migrant birds in Tanganyika Territory. Tanganyika Notes & 
. Records 4: 17-50. 

PEARSC»I, D.J. & BACKHURST, G.C. 1976. The southward migration of Palaearctic 
birds over Ngulia, Kenya. Ibis 118: 78-105. 

(Received 18 February 1977) 


A.D. Forbes-Watson 

That there is, indeed, a problem in the identification of honeyguides is 
exemplified by the chaotic state of their nomenclature, with no two authors even 
agreeing on the total number of species occurring, and with leading authorities 
reversing their own previous opinions. It is outside the scope of the present 
contribution to enter this controversy, which I hope to cover later, together 
with other honeyguid problems and observations. Similarly, I do not want to 
burden this account with references, and will simply express my great appreciat- 
ion of the thorough work of Herbert Friedmann and the late James Chapin (see 
Key References) . I am certainly the only person who has observed alive in thfe 
wild all the 16 African species I recognize, cind I hope that the notes which 
follow will therefore be of use, particularly to field workers. 

Of the 16 species, no less than 14 have been definitely recorded in East 
Africa; so that, with the probable occurrence of Melichneutes robustus we have 
to consider all but one of the African species. (The exception is the second - 
West African - species of Melignomon which is extremely vinlikely to occur and 
will not be mentioned here again.) Luckily, identification problems do not 
entcd.1 all these species and in any one eirea, there will only be a few problem 
birds. But it has to be stressed that even the most experienced observer will 
not necessarily be able to identify a peurticular bird in the field (and sometimes 

18 Honeyguides 

not even in the museijml)-. Let one example suffice: at Kakamega, a small 
individual Indioator oonirostris may not with certainty always be differentiated 
from a large individual of J. exilis. I would say, however, that if a good 
view is obtained almost all birds can be identified in the field. But a 
noticeable and frustrating feature of honeyguides is their elusiveness - even a 
bird marked down to a particular part of a tree can disappear with no hint of 
how it did so. With the notable exception of J. indioatbr^ there is little 
difference in the plumage of the sexes or between adult and immature, but some 
(? all) young exi-li-s may not show an obvious dark malar stripe or white loral 
spot^ and may then be confused with willooaksi or even pimilio. In general, 
males are slightly larger than females, and adults have blunter tips to the 
tail feathers with wider and more L-shaped dark markings on the white outer 
retrices. The East African species are (probable superspecies bracketed) : 

fndiaator maoulatus Spotted Honeyguide, Western forests 

(Variegatus Scaly-throated Honeyguide, General, woodland + forest 
indioatov Black-throated (Greater) Honeyguide, General, woodland 
f minor Lesser Honeyguide, General, woodland 
ioonirostri-s Thick-billed Honeyguide, Western forests 
exitis Least Honeyguide, Western forests 
meli-philus Pallid Honeyguide*, Eastern woodlands 
willoocksi Willcocks' Honeyguide, Western forests 
narokensis Kilimanjaro Honeyguide, Eastern vroodlands 
pumilio Chapin's Least Honeyguide, Western forests 
Meliohneutes robustus Lyre-tailed Honeyguide, Western forests 
Melignomon zerikevi Zenker's Honeyguide, Western forests 
ProdotisGUS rinsignis Western Honeybird*, Western forests 

Izambes'iae Eastern Honeybird*, Eastern woodlands + forest edges 
regulus Wahlberg's Honeybird, General, woodlands 

English names follow Mackworth-Praed & Grant (1960) where possible, but those 
marked * are innovations. I would also say that I am dissatisfied with some 
of these names. 

The 15 species can be split conveniently into six main groups based on size 
and form conforming well with the genera now recognized, with Indicator being 
divided into three parts. In this context large species are in the 40-60 g range, 
medium e. 25-30 g, small c. 15-20 g, very small e.lOg. I feel that these weights 
give a better idea of size for field workers than do wing-lengths, and very 
roughly correspond to a weaver, sparrow, seedeater and warbler respectively. 
For those handling specimens skin measurements can readily be extracted from the 
literature. Differences in form concern the tail and bill. 

Not yet certainly recorded in East Africa, it can be expected in lowland forest 
in Bwamba, western Uganda. When seen, its tail form makes it unmistakable, even 
young birds show the beginnings of the lyrate shape at an early stage. One of the 
few honeyguides which can be identified by sound - its loud mechanical tooting 
is -distinctive and it seems that the unique tail structure produces this sound. 

GROUP .2. LARGE SPECIES WITH NORMAL TAIL {INDICATOR part) - 3 species, indicator, 
maoutatud, Variegatus. In this group the colour and markings of the underparts 
are the main distinguishing characters. I. indicator is unique in having 
distinctive immature, female and male plumages - all, fortunately, easy to 
recognize. The yellow flashes in the plijmage are not often seen in the field. 
This species is plain below, yellow-washed in the young, pale greyish in the 
adult. The adult male has a distinct, black throat and both sexes have pale 
pink bills. 

The other two species are strongly marked below; maoulatus just enters 
western Uganda in forests, with variegatus replacing it in forests, woodlands 




and riverine forest strips further east. J. maoulatus is dark olive-green below 
with paler spots, while vopiegatus is streedted, especially on the throat and 
upper breast. They hardly overlap, except in Bwamba - the adults there should 
be easily distingviished, but yovmg maoulatus are streaked on the foreneck. Their 
darker underparts and mottled bellies should make recognition easy. 

GROUP 3. MEDIUM-SIZED SPECIES [INDICATOR part) - 2 species, minor j aonirostris. 
These two species are very similar in appearance, but minor is paler below and 
is generally slightly smaller and not so heavy billed, but in western Uganda 
the \jnderparts are darker and difficulties in identification can be expected. 
Where the two species occur together (forests in Uganda to Kapenguria, and 
Kakamega in Kenya) conirostris is found in the forest, with minor at the edges 
and in woodlands. Further east, where conirostris does not occur, minor does 
inhabit forest. Some individuals of conirostris might be confused with exilis. 

Qiapin once considered these three dull species with blackish malar streaks 
('moustaches') to comprise a separate genus Melignothes, but this seems 
unnecessary, and he later combined it with Indicator. 

exilis, meli-philus, willoocksi, narokensis, pumilio. This group is where the 
main headaches in honeyguide identification occur. All five species are very 
similar, up to three are completely sympatric and exilis can sometimes be 
confused with conirostris (see Table. 1) . 


Sympatry in some East African honeyguides in East Africa 
































































The aids to field identification are range and habitat, size, the presence 
or absence of a malar stripe and white loral spot, colour of underparts, and 
bill size. These features of the five small sibling species of Indicator found 
in East Africa are given below: 

Indicator exilis occurs in forest in Uganda and western Kenya; it is small 
to medium with a normal bill; it has a malar stripe and a loral spot; 
the underparts are dark grey. 

J. meliphilus is found in eastern woodlands; it is small with a normal bill, 
no malar stripe but it does have a loral spot; the underparts are veiy 
pale grey.. 

I. willcocksi is confined to western Uganda (in our area) where it inhabits 
forests. It is a small bird with a normal bill, no malar stripe or loral 
spot, cuid has dark grey underparts with a greenish tinge. 

J. narokensis is a very small bird with a small bill found in eastern wood- 
lands; it has no malar stripe or loral spot and the underparts axe pale 
grey with some streaking. 

J. pumilio is similar to narokensis but is found in forests of western Uganda 
and western Kenya; vmderparts medium grey with faint streaking. 

20 Honeyguides 

All the honeyguides so far considered (i.e. in groups 1^4) have stubby 
bills - they are rather heavy looking and are fairly broad in relation to length 
and depth, and are more or less conical. The actual proportion varies somewhat - 
in the large species the bill is relatively longer, and in group 4 relatively 
shorter, particularly in narokensis and pumilio which have very short stxobby 
bills. These two differ from all the other species in having narrow (from side 
to side) bills, making them wedge-shaped. This narrowness* is recognizable if a 
good view is obtained from below and is much the best way of distinguishing 
^imClio from earitiSy especially if the latter 's malar stripe is indistinct. 

This species has only once been recorded in East Africa - from Bwamba, western 
Uganda. The colour pattern is fairly similar to minor' but the form is more 
warbler-like. It is a leaf -gleaning bird with a fairly slender but strong bill; 
the normal honeyguide tail pattern is obvious. 

P. insignis, zamhesiae^ regulus. Superficially like leaf-gleaning warblers, 
the very obvious pure white outer tail feathers should narrow the field of 
possible confusion. The fluffy, pi lomp- looking body, very rounded head and 
disproportionately small slender bill should then make identification as a honey- 
bird easy. P. regulus differs from the others in having a dull brownish (not 
green) back and is slightly larger. It occurs alongside zambesiae in the 
Arboretum, and Karura Forest, Nairobi and is easy to distinguish if a good view 
is obtained. 

Until recently all honeybirds apart from regulus were considered as sub- 
species of Cassin's Honeybird P. insignis^ but as it is now known that forest 
and woodland forms exist side by side, it is obvious that two species occur. 
P. insigni-S is a western forest form and is brighter green above and darker grey 
below than zambesiae. Locality is a help - insignis is only found in forests 
from western Kenya (Kakamega etc.) westwards, while zambesiae is a woodland bird, 
although it may be found along forest edges, for example, as at Karura. 

A final warning I In the forests of Uganda and western Kenya the Honeyguide 
Greenbul Baeopogon indicator occurs, which is superficially so like a honeyguide 
that it has fooled many an observer. A good look at it should clear up any 
mistake - it does not have the honeyguide 'jizz' of a compact, heavy-looking body 
and its bill is too slender. No honeyguide has a white eye, which the male 
bulbul has, and a close look at the feet will show the normal passerine form, 
not the zygodactylous form of the Piciformes. 


CHM>IN, J. P. 1939. The birds of the Belgian Congo, vol 2. Bulletin of the 
Amerioan Museum of Natural History 75. 

1962. Sibling species of small African honey-guides. Ibis 104: 40-44. 

FRIEDMANN, H. 1955. The Honey-guides. Bulletin of the U.S. National Museum. 208. 

1968. Parallel evolution in the small species of Indicator (Aves) . 

Proceedings of the U.S. National Museum No. 3655. 

1970. Phenotypic potential and speciation in Indicator and 

Prodotiscus. Ostrich Supp, 8: 21-26. 

(Received 23 February 1977) 

short oommuniaatidns 21 


A.D. Forbes-Watson <§ D.A, Turner 

On 14 February 1975 an adult and a full-grovm inmature Little Grebe Taohybaptus 
rufiooltis were seen in the Hippo Pool in Ngorongoro Crater, northern Tanzania. 
The adult was in no way associated with a nearby group of hippo which were lying 
partly svibmerged in the water, but the young bird was constantly moving along 
their flanks as they rose and fell, and was actively scrambling up on to their 
wet sides . There were dense bands of some sort of small flying insects 
(probably Diptera) which were congregated along the 'tide line' on the hippos' 
sides, and were generally c. 30 cm or more from the water level. It was these 
insects that the grebe was hvmting, and several were caught and eaten while we 
watched. Later the same bird swam near the head of a hippo and dived a few 
times, right alongside, before bringing to the surface and eating a c. 10 cm 
leech, presijmably detached from the hippo. 

We have often seen Little Grebes following closely behind feeding Red- 
knobbed Coots Fulioa cristatOy apparently for their dist\irbance factor, but have 
not observed a grebe/mammal association before. 

Received 15 February 1977. 


W.P.H. Duffus & A.E. Butterworth 

Backhurst, Britton & Mann (1973) give only two records of the European >ochard 
Ay thy a ferina from East Africa, one in south-western Uganda and the other in 
northern Tanzania. 

On 30-31 December 1976 we visited the freshwater lake, 01 Bolossat 
(0^09'S., 36°26'E.) which is surrounded by flooded grassland at this time of 
year. Large numbers of both Palaearctic and Ethiopian ducks were utilizing this 
habitat. We saw two, or possibly three, male European Pochards during the two 
days. They were present in a mixed party of European Wigeon Anas ipenetope^ 
Shoveler A. alypeata^ Pintail A. aouta, and Yellow-billed Ducks A. undulata. 
The Pochards were easily distinguished from the others by a combination of 
chestnut-red head, black breast and grey back. In flight, they were readily 
separable from the more numerous male Wigeon by the lack of white on the wing. 

Davey & Harrison (n.d. =1976) report a European Pochard as having been shot 
at 01 Bolossat during the 1975/76 season, and the Hopsons (1975) mention one 
(presumably seen) in March 1973 at Ferguson's Gulf, Lake Turkana (formerly Lake 
Rudolf) . Thus the December 1976 birds would appear to constitute the third 
record for Kenya. 

Two male European Teal Anas orecca and large numbers (up to eight in sight 
at one time) of European Marsh Harriers Circus aeruginosus were also seen at 01 
bolossat during our visit. Clearly the area warrants regular study by ornith- 

We would like to thank Dr Glynn Davies for initially drawing our attention 
to the Pochard by reporting that he thought he had seen one at 01 Bolossat, 
and to Dr D.J. Pearson for locating the WAGBI report. 

22 Short oomrmmi cations 


BAC3CHURST, G.C., BRITTCW, P.L. & MANN, C.F. 1973. The less common Palaearctic 
migrant birds of Kenya and Tanzania. Journal of the East Af-rioa Natural 
EistoTpy Society and National Museum 140: 1-38. 

DAVEY, p. & HARRISON, J. n.d.(=1976). Notes on Eurasian migrant duck in the 
shooting bag at 01 Bolossat Lake, Kenya. Cyclostyled, WAGBI, Rossett. 

HOPSON, A.J. & J. 1975. Preliminary notes on the birds of the Lake Turkana area. 
Cyclostyled, Kitale. 

Dr W.P.H. Duff us. Veterinary Research Laboratory, P.O. Kabete, 
and Dr A.E. Butterworth, Box 43640, Nairobi. 

Received 23 Februaiy 1977. 


A.D. Forbes-Watson 

On 23 December 1976 at Samburu Lodge, northern Kenya, the fresh hindquarters of 
a goat were hung by the feet in a tree to attract leopard to feed within sight. 
Soon after dawn next day, I was attracted by a commotion at this bait, and saw 
that an immature African Harrier- Hawk Folyh oroides typus was hanging by its feet 
from the lower part of the bait. It was beating its wings in the characteristic 
fashion of the species when searching crannies etc. , and was seen to be tearing 
at the meat between its feet. After a few minutes the wing action changed to a 
frantic beating, but the bird was evidently caught by its claws in the meat and 
could not free itself. It was at least five minutes before the bird fell on its 
back to the ground below; then it righted itself and stayed spread-eagled for a 
few minutes imtil flying away. 

Brown & Amadon (1968) do not mention carrion in the diet of this species, 
but Rand (1936) records 'carrion' in the stomach of the Madagascar Harrier- Hawk 
P. radiatus; this was a part of the hedgehog-like insectivore Tenrec ecaudatus 
(Tenrecidae) ; but as the adults are c.25 am in length they could reasonably be 
expected to be taken and killed by a Harrier-Hawk, and carrion-feeding in this 
species remains to be proved, 


BROWN, L.H. & AMADON, D. 1968. Eagles^ Eawks and Falcons of the world. 
Feltham: Hamlyn for Co\intry Life. Vol.1: 368-374. 

RAND, A.L. 1936. The Distribution and habits of Madagascar birds. Bulletin of 
the American Museum of Natural History 75: 389. 

Received 15 February 1977. 


J.F. Reynolds 

Mann (1976), stated that he could "...trace no actual records..." of Wattled 
Plovers Vanellus senegallus for Tanzania. This is a surprising statement since 
my paper on Tabora birds (Reynolds 1968), listed as R2 in his bibliography, 
recorded this plover as a rainy season migrant to paddy fields around Tabora, 
and as breeding in the Ugalla River Game Reserve between August and November. 

short oormunioations 23 

While working in Tanzania I also saw Wattled Plovers on the flood plain of 
the Wenibere emd on 'soggy' pastures, adjacent to the Great Ruaha River, on dairy 
farms near Iringa. The general behaviour of the latter birds suggested breeding, 
but I failed to find any nests on the farm which I visited most frequently. 


MANN, C.F. 1976. Some recent changes in our knowledge of bird distribution in 
East Africa. Journal of the East Africa Natural History Society and 
■National Museum 157: 1-24. 

REYNOLDS, J.F. 1968. Notes on birds observed in the vicinity of Tabora, 

Tanzania, with special reference to breeding data, ibidem 27(2): 117-139. 

Received 9 February 1977. 


J.F. Reynolds 

Between April and August Pratincoles Glareola pratincola are breeding visitors 
to Lake Magadi where part of their food consists of the ephydrid flies ji^ich 
aboxand around the edges of some of the shallow lagoons at the south end of the 
lake near the hot springs. Pratincoles catch these flies by looking intently 
ahead while leaning forwards, often squatting on the tarsi, and, from this posit- 
ion, making sudden little forward or upward leaps during which the bill is 
usually closed on a passing fly. Despite watching closely on many occasions, I 
have not certainly seen any flies taken from the surface of mud or soda shale, 
and I believe it probable that the technique is used solely to catch flies 
flying about 10 cm above the ground. 

When I first saw a group of Pratincoles behaving in this way I was some 
50 m away from the birds and I thought I was observing some sort of communal 
display; it was not until I was able to approach within about 4 m (in my Land- 
Rover) that I realised what the birds were actually doing. 

This feeding technique is unrecorded in books (e.g., Bannerman 1961) that 
describe the general habits of the Evuropean-breeding race of G. pratincola. 


BANNERMAN, D.A. & LODGE, G.E. 1961. The birds of the British Isles. Edinburgh 
and London: Oliver & Boyd. 

Received 9 February 1977. 


P.L. Britton 

Moreau (1966) included the Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo Ceroocoacyx montanus in 
the Tangemyika-Nyasa and East Congo montane bird faxinas and remarked on the lack 
of Kenya records. Several calling birds and a collected female with an oviduct 
egg at 2000 m a.s.l. on the southern slopes of Mt Kenya in March 1962 represent 
the only Kenya records (Keith 1968). Keith's specimen is referable to the race 
patulus of Tanzania and Malawi, though his discussion of tail-lengths is con- 
f vised by the evident transposal of the words 'tail' and 'wing' throughout (con- 
firmed by Keith in litt. ) . 

24 Short communications 

wing-length 142 mm , tail-length 189 mm and weight 56.5 g, was collected from a 
mist-net in lowland dry forest on coral rag at Shimoni on the south Kenya coast 

(4''39'S., 39''23'E.). With the assistance of the Curator, it has been compared 
with the three specimens of C. m. patulus in the National Museum, Nairobi, with 
which it agrees perfectly. This south-eastern form occurs at lower altitudes 
than nominate birds (White 1965) , and it may well be migratory at higher lati- 
tudes (Benson 1952) . One of the Nairobi Musexom specimens Vas captured alive at 
a lighted window at night. at Amani in north-eastern Tanzania on 26 November 1937, 
only 100km from Shimoni at 1000m a.s.l. This apparent migrant laid an egg in 
captivity, though it may not perhaps have laid it at this locality under normal 
circianstances. In view of the lack of records of this species when it is not 
calling, it is noteworthy that C.F. Mann and I netted and ringed one in forest 
at Amani on 23 August 1973. It may be only a seasonal visitor to the Kenya coast 
during the austral winter, as are the Pygmy Kingfisher Ceyx picta natatensisj 
African Pitta Pitta angolensis, and Black Cuckoo-Shrike Campephaga flava 

(Britton 1973, Britton & Britton 1974, Britton & Rathbun in prep.) . 

Of all the Tanganyika-Nyasa montane birds, Moreau (1966) selected the 
anomalous distributions of this species and the Green-headed Oriole Oriolus 
ahlorocephalus for special mention in view of the lack of records from Mt Kili- 
manjaro. Though unrecorded in Kenya until recently, this oriole is not uncommon 
in forest patches on the Shimba Hills in coastal Kenya at 400m a.s.l., where it 
is probably a resident breeder (Squire 1976, R.A.M. McVicker pers. comm. , pers. 
obs.), and it has been reported from forest at sea-level on the south Kenya coast 
(Squire 1976) . Though typically montane, both species have been recorded in non- 
montane habitats below 800 m in southern Tanzania, where the cuckoo was evidently 
breeding between October and January (Stjernstedt 1970) . 


BENSON, C.W. 1952. Notes from Nyasaland. Ostrich 2 3: 144-149. 

BRITTON, P.L. 1973. Seasonal movements of the black-cuckoo shrikes Campephaga 
phoenicea and C. ftava^ especially in eastern Africa. Bulletin of the 
British Ornithologists' Club 93: 41-48. 

& BRITTON, H. 1974. Migratory Pygmy Kingfishers in coastal Kenya. 

EAMS Bulletin 1974: 128. 

KEITH, S. 1968. Notes on birds of East Africa, including additions to the avi- 
fauna. American Museum Novitates 2321. 

SQUIRE, J. 1976. Some observations on the forests south of Mombasa. EANHS 
Bulletin 1976: 76-77. 

STJERNSTEDT, R. 1970. Birds in Brachystegia microphyllwn in southern Tanzania. 
Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 90: 28-31. 

Received 9 February 1977. 


Brian S. -Meadows 


It is known that the Malachite Kingfisher Alcedo cristata is partly insectivorous. 
However, previous observations have indicated that small fish and amphibians 
form its main diet. In 1963 I had an opportunity to note the food taken by a 
Malachite Kingfisher holding a territory for several weeks on a fishless river; 
the observation shows that survival is possible for a significant period of time 
when the main diet was not available. 

Short (xmmunioations 25 

On 12 October 1973 1 located an adiilt Malachite Kingfisher hcldir.g a territ- 
ory on the R\iiru River in an area of Kixu\n: highlar.d forest cleared for agric- 
ulture. The river was polluted by the effluents arising free the wet-prccessing 
of coffee from a factory about 4 ka ^^streaa; it was anaercbic for n-cs- cf the 
day due to the high biocb» oxygen deaand (above lOG parts per Killic» en a 
five-day test of 20'C) . Local villagers infoxHed ae that,, as a result of the 
discharge of the organic effluents, shortly after the first plug of polluting 
wastes reached the section of the river held by the kingfisher, all the fish and 
tad^les in the watercourse were observed to be in a distressed condition. 
I carried out a biological survey of the river on the day of wf arrival, and 
siibsequently, \intil the end of the year, i^iicfa confirsed that the river was fish- 
less: the Biacro-invertebrate fatxia was severely depleted in its species-diversity 
cmd consisted alJBOst solely of oligochaete woras, beetles (Coleoptera) and water 
boatmen (Heioiptera) . 

The stream continued to be polluted xmtil the end of the peak coffee-picking 
season in early December, 1973. Ilie Malachite Kingfisher regained in its ssall 
territory, which was probably less than 0.2 strean-ka, to at least 27 Mo vcab er, 
i.e. a period of at least 47 days. Observations covering several hours per visit 
on five separate days in October and Noveflber showed that the bird fed solely on 
large water-beetles aid water boataen taken froa the surface of the water, plus 
adult danselflies/dragonflies (Odonata) obtained by aerial feeding. 

Unfortunately, as the kingfisher had not been discovered before the river 
became grossly polluted, it is not known idiether the bird had been initially 
attracted to the location by the ease of capture of Boribund fish, or if it had 
held the territory prior to the start of the discharge frca the coffee factory, 
llie significant point however, is that, althoui^ there were a niaiber of clean 
tributaries with large stocks of ssall fish and aa^ihibians within a radius of 
7 km from the pcllated sector of the nain river, I did not Manage to obtain any 
evidence that the bird ever aade an ati to leave the fishless strean. I^ere 
were no Malachite Kingfishers on the adjacent rivers either. 

Preliioinary analysis of aore detailed investigations of the ecology of 
Malachite Kingfishers at other locations in Kenya (Meadows in pr^.) , indicates 
that they can have a rigid social structure, and that there appears to be only 
a saall nobile component within the local populations; the above observation is, 
then perheqps, not so surprising. In additicm, the species is probably particular- 
ly well adapted to utilize an alternative food source during periods when its 
normal food cannot easily be caught; for example, I know that Malachite King- 
fishers holding breeding territories on the xxppex reaches of the Athi River 
remain within their section of river even during maximua flood oonditicois. 

Received 15 February 1977. 

A.D, Forbes -Vats on 

On 10 F^niary 1975 «Aen near Keekorok Lodge, southern Kenya, I noticed a single 
Drcmgo Dicrurus adsimUxe associated with a lone old male buffalo. At first, 
the Drongo was perched on twigs near the buffalo, and was pouncing on insects 
disturbed by the slowly moving mammal. After a short time it perched on the buff- 
alo's back and made several sorties from it; that it had perched there before was 
evident from seme small 'white -washed' spots on the buffalo's back. Despite many 
similair observations concerning this species and large ■ i^ i1 (particularly buff- 
alo, elephant and rhino) tliis is the only time that I have seen a mammal used as a 
perch by D. adsimClis^ nor have I ever seen any of the other seven Dicrurus spp. 
of the Ethiopian/Malagasy regions associated with ma^uls. 

26 Reports and notices 



The 4th P.A.O.C. held recently in the Seychelles under the Patronage of H.E. The 
President of Seychelles, James R. Mancham, attracted the largest-ever attendance 
at a Pan -African congress with 265 participants, plus seven non-attending members, 
representing a total of 23 coxantries; for the first time South Africa was repres- 
ented by less than 50 per cent, of the total participants. The 23 countries 
represented were: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, Ethiopia, 
France, West Germany, Japan, Kenya, Malawi, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Poland, 
Rhodesia, Seychelles, South Africa, Sudan, Tchad, Uganda, United Kingdom, 
United States of America, and Zambia. 

The host coijntry was represented by 15 participants and East Africa by 
20, among whom were the following congress office bearers: 

Secretary-General A.D. Forbes-Watson 

Organizing-Secretary D.A. Turner 

Scientific Committee A.D. Forbes-Watson 

Dr L.H. Brown 

Excursions Committee A.L. Archer 

D.A. Turner 

Exhibits Committee Mrs R. Fennessy 

R.M. Glen 

A highlight of the congress was the special commemorative issue of four 
stamps depicting four Seychelles birds, beautifully designed by Nairobi artist 
Rena Fennessy. This was the first time that any ornithological congress has been 
so honovired. Another feature of the congress was an art exhibition, where a 
large variety of work by both local and overseas artists was on display. 

The congress was extremely fortxanate that all delegates were housed londer 
one roof at Mahe Beach Hotel; this allowed people with similar interests to meet 
informally. Over 60 papers were presented during the week, and many of the 
discussions that followed were extremely stimulating and will hopefully yield 
worthwhile results. The congress President, Mrs B.P. Hall, chaired a full day 
symposium on Comparative African Avifaunas, a truly marathon effort for which she 
is to be commended. 

A wide variety of excursions was another feature of the congress, beginning 
with a week's Pre-Congress Excursion in Kenya which allowed many participants to 
visit the National Musexam en route both to, and from, Seychelles. Post-Congress 
Excursions visited the Indian Ocean islands of Mauritius, Reunion and Madagascar. 

Throughout the period of the congress, daily excursions to the outer islands 
of the Seychelles group were fully si±)scribed, and many participants saw all - 
eleven endemic species, including the rare and little known Seychelles Scops Owl 
Otus insularis. in addition, all participants took advantage of the free all-day 
excursion by boat to the islands of Praslin and La Digue; it was felt that a 
particular feature of this congress was that the original quoted fees of US $50 
(Registration) , plus $300 (Congress) , contained no hidden costs whatsoever. 

The congress was formally opened by H.E. The President of Seychelles, 
James R. Mancham at a grand and lavish ceremony on Saturday 6 November 1976; the 
Congress received his wholehearted support throughout the entire week, and was 
capped by his unprecedented 'Seychelles Welcome' to all participants at a special 
State House garden party. 

Reports cmd notices 27 

A number of special meetings on various aspects of African and Indian Ocean 
ornithology was held during the period of the congress, and resolutions under the 
chairmanship of Dr G.E. Watson were passed by the congress and have now been 
forwarded to the relevant Governments. One special meeting, convened under the 
chairmanship of Sir Hugh Elliott, discussed future Pan-African Ornithological 
Congresses and it was decided that an interim, eleven-man committee be set up to 
decide the venue of the 5th P.A.O.C. This committee consists of: 

1) The President of the 4th congress, or her nominee. 

2) Five members of the South African Ornithological Society of which 
at least one is from Rhodesia. 

3) One representative from Zambia and Malawi. 

4) Two representatives from geographical East Africa, one of which must ^ 
represent Ethiopia. 

5) Two representatives from West Africa, one from the English speaking 
countries, and one from the French speaking countries. 

Mr Ken Newman (South Africa) was unanimously elected 'convenor' for the 5th 
Pan-African Ornithological Congress and, together with the committee, will decide 
on a venue during the coming year. The East African representatives core: 
Dr D.J. Pearson, Box 30197, Nairobi, and Dr L.H. Brown, Box 24916, Nairobi 
(representing Ethiopia) ; we offer them our best wishes for a congress as success- 
ful as the fourth. 

The congress was formally closed on Friday 12 November with a summing-up by 
Dr David Snow, British Museiom of Natural History, and it is hoped that his 
comments and suggestions will stimulate even greater contributions to the next 
congress. Further, it is hoped that the spirit prevailing throughout the week in 
Seychelles will now be carried forward to the 5th Pan-African Ornithological 
Congress. We wish Ken Newman and his committee every success in the task ahead 
of them. 

A.D.F.-W. and D.A.T. 


Copies of the Sixteenth International Ornithological Congress Proceedings are 
now available; enquiries should be sent to: 

The Australian Academy of Science, 

P.O. Box 783, 

Canberra City, A.C.T. 2601, 


These Proceedings contain only the Symposia and not s;3bmitted (plenary session) 
papers . 

Symposia papers of particular Africein interest are: 

1) SYMPOSIUM No. 2: Biology of Southern Hemisphere Species. 

S.J.J.F. Davie s: The Natural History of the Emu in Comparison with that 
of other Ratites. 

2) SYMPOSIUM No. 3: The Value of Various Taxononic Characters in Avian 
Classification . 

Recent Advances cuid the Future of Aviein Classification. 
Contribution of External Morphology to Avian Classif- 
ication . 

Contribution of Fossil Birds to Avian Classification. 
Special Morphological Characters. 
Use of Behavioural Characters in Avian Classification 



J. Bock: 
L. Short: 






Reports and notices 

W. Meise: 
V. Ilyichev: 

3) SYMPOSIUM No. 4: 
A . C . Kemp : 

G.L. MacLean: 

4) SYMPOSIUM No. 7: 

G.L. MacLean: 
G.L. MacLean: 

5) SYMPOSIUM No. 10: 
L.G. Grimes: 

Die Bedeutung der Oologie fiir die Systematik. 
Bioacoustic Characters in Avian Classification. 

Breeding of Birds in Southern Continents. 

Factors affecting the onset of breeding in African 

Factors governing breeding of African birds in non- 
arid habitats. 

Physiological and Behavioural Adaptations to Arid Zones, 

Arid-Zone Ornithology in Africa and South America. 
Adaptations of Sandgrouse for life in arid lands. 

Co-operative Breeding in Birds. 

Co-operative breeding in African birds. 


The Seventeenth International Ornithological Congress will be held in Berlin/ 
West Germany, from 4-11 June 1978, and those wishing to participate or receive 
details should write to: 

Rolf Nohring, 
Hardenbergplatz 8, 
Zoologischer Garten, 
D-IOOO Berlin 30 (West) , 
West Geinnany. 

Registration Fee for the Congress will be between DM 250-300 (approximately 
US $100) , and a full range of Pre- and Post-Congress Excursions is planned. 

30 March 1977: 

30 June 1977: 

31 July 1977: 

15 September 1977: 


Return of provisional registration card. Of particular 
importance to those intending to take part in excursions, 

Registration of Special Interest Groups with Secretary- 

Registration of films VN/ith one of the people named on 
pages 8 and 9 of the Congress circular. 

Return of provisional registration card of those NOT 
intending to take part in the excursions. 

c/'io /yA/?p i~, /?77 



I, A.D. 1971. Skeleton checklist of East African birds. Nairobi 
(duplicated). = Forbes-Watson 1971. 

HALL, B.P. & MOBEAU, R.E. 1970. An atlos of speciation in African Passerine birds. 
London: British Musevm (Nat. Hist.). = Hall & Moreau 1970. 

JACKSGN, F.J. 1938. Tlw birds of Kenya Colony and the Uganda Protectorate. 3 vols. 
London: Gumey & Jackson. = Jackson 1938 

HACKHORTH-PRAED, C.W. & GRANT, C.H.B. 1957 & 1960. African handbook of birds. 

Series I, vols 1 & 2. Birds of eastern and north eastern Africa. 2nd Edition. 
London: Longmans Green & Co. = Mackworth-Praed & Grant 1957 and/or 1960. 

MOREAU, R.E. 1966. The bird faunas of Africa and its islands. London: Academic. 
Press. = Moreau 1966. 

1972. The Palaearctic-African bird migration systems. London: 

Academic Press. = Moreau 1972. 

WHITE, C.M.N. 1960. A check list of the Ethiopian Muscicapidae (Sylviinae) Part I 
Occasional papers of the National Museyms of Southern Rhodesia 3 (24B) : 399- 
430. = White 1960. 

1961. A revised check list of African broadbills etc. Lusaka: 

Government Printer. = White 1961. 

1962a. A check list of the Ethiopian Muscicapidae (Sylviinae) Parts 

II and III. Occasional papers of the National Musetms of Southern Rhodesia 
3 (26B): 653-738. = White 1962a. 

1962b. A revised check list of African shrikes, etc. Lusaka: 

Government Printer. = White 1962b. 

1963. A revised check list of African fly catchers .... etc . Lusaka: 

Government Printer. = White 1963. 

1965. A revised check list of African Non-Passerine birds. Lusaka: 

Government Printer. = White 1965. 

WILLIAMS, J.G. 1967. A field guide to the National Parks of East Africa. London: 
Collins. = Williams 1967. 

1969. A field guide to the birds of East and Central Africa. 

4th in^ression. London: Collins. = Williams 1969. 


Editorial . , . . . -1 

D.A. TURNER. Status and distribution of the East African endemic species ... 2 

G.C. BACKHURST & D.J. PEARSON. Southward migration at Ngulia, Tsavo, 

Kenya, 1976/77 12 

A.D. FORBES -WATSON. Notes on the field identification of East African 

honeyguides (Indicatoridae) 17 

Short communications 

A.D. FORBES-WATSON & D.A. TURNER. Little Grebe Taohyboptus vufioollis 

associating with hippo .... ..... 21 

W.P.H. DUFFUS & A.E. BUTTE RWORTH . A record of the European Pochard 

Ay thy a ferina from Lake 01 Bolossat, Kenya . 21 


A.D. FORBES -WATSON. African Harrier-Hawk Polyboroides typus feeding 

on carrion 22 

J.F. REYNOLDS. Wattled Plovers Vanellus senegallus in Tanzania 22 

J.F. REYNOLDS. Pratincole Glareola pratinaola catching flies at groxind 

level 23 

P.L. BRITTON. A Kenya record of Ceraoooecyx montanus at sea-level .... 23 

BRIAN S. MEADOWS. The food of a Malachite Kingfisher Alcedo cristata 

holding a territory on a fishless river 24 

A.D. FORBES-WATSON. Drongo Diovurus adsimilis using animate perch ... . .25 

Reports and notices 

4th Pan-African Ornithological Congress - Seychelles, 6-13 November 1976 . 26 

XVI International Ornithological Congress . . 27 

XVII International Ornithological Congress 28 

Printed in Kenya by BEEZEE^ Box 30652, Nairobi 




A quarterly ornithological publication 

of the East Africa Natural History Society 
Volume ^ (2) June 1977 


Scopus is published five times a year by the East Africa Natxiral History Society's 
Ornithological Sub-Committee. Subscriptions are payable to the Hon. Treasurer 
(and Secretary) , D.A. Turner, Scopus a/c. Box 48019, Nairobi, Kenya, at the 
following annual rates: 

1) To members of the E.A.N.H.S., Kenya shillings 50/- 

2) To all others, Kenya shillings 75/- 

All material for Soopu^, including papers, short communications, and records of 
birds, should be sent to the Chairman of the Ornithological S\ab-Committee , 
Dr D.J. Pearson, Department of Biochemistry, Box 30197, Nairobi. 

Other members of the Sub-Committee are: G.C. Backhurst (Editor of Scopus), 

Box 29003, Nairobi? P.L. & Mrs H.A. Britton, Box 90163, Mombasa; G.R. Cxanningham- 

van Someren, Box 40658, Nairobi; Dr A.W. Diamond, Department of Zoology, 

Box 30197, Nairobi; A.D. Forbes-Watson, Box 49771, Nairobi; B.S. Meadows^ 

Box 30521, Nairobi; J.F. Reynolds, Box 40584, Nairobi; D.K. Richards, Box 41951, 



Scopus welcomes original contributions in English on all aspects of East African 
ornithology. Contributions will be assessed by the S\ab-Committee and by 
independent referees if necessary. The material published in Scopus will be 
divided into 'papers' and 'short communications', the latter will be less than 
two 5copws-pages in length. 

Contributions should be typed in double spacing, on one side of the paper only, 
with wide margins all round, and they should be submitted in duplicate. 
Exceptionally, clear hand-written MSS will be considered but these too should be 
sent in duplicate. Both English and scientific names of birds should be given 
when the species is first mentioned, thereafter only one should be used. Nonnally, 
authorities should not be given. 

Illustrations should be on Bristol board or good quality white paper in line, 
i.e. black on white, and should not be larger than 29 x 18 cm. Lettering (in 
black) will be the responsibility of the author and should be done neatly using 
stencils or Letraset; due allowance should be made for reduction to the final 
printed size. Each illustration should be numbered (Fig.l, etc.) and provided 
with a legend typed on a sepcirate sheet of paper. Photographs will be considered 
if they are absolutely necessary. 

Tables, which should also be numbered, should appear in the typescript and 
need not be on separate sheets of paper, unless they cure leurge. 

Metric units should be used. If non-metric units were used in the original 
observation or experiment, the approximate metric equivalent should be given 
in brackets. 

Any references cited should be listed at the end of the contribution following 
the foinn used in this issue. Names of periodicals should be given in full. 
A number of works, which are likely to be cited frequently, should not be listed 
under references; the name of the author (s) emd date(s) of pxiblication should be 
given in the text in the normal way. A list of the works concerned is given 
inside the back cover. 

Observers cu:e asked to send in records of birds for inclusion in the annual 
East Africam bird report issue. Records which appeeu: in the National Museums of 
Kenya Department of Ornithology Newsletter will be reviewed for the annual report 
but, in the case of rare birds or birds showing an extension of range, full 
details supporting the record should be submitted, whether the record is sent to 
the Newsletter or Scopus - this will save correspondence later on. 

All contributions should be sent to Dr D.J. Pearson, Department of 
Biochemistry, Box 30197, Nairobi. 

24 October 

(Britton in nr^ss^ 

Scopus 1 (2) Jvine 1977 




P,L. Brit ton 

The bewildering array of terns of various ages in various plumages which 
confronts visitors to the East African coast probably results in more un- 
identified 'hoodwinks' than do eyen the small shorebirds. Problems of ident- 
ification cannot be separated from a consideration of status; the field may be 
substantially narrowed if certain species are known to be rare or absent in a 
particular locality or present there only seasonally. 

Literature will not generally be cited in the following species accoxonts, 
but frequent reference is made to Britton & Brown (1974), who summarized 
existing information on the status of terns in East Africa, augmented by Britton 
& Britton (1976) who clarified the status of several species in coastal Kenya. 
Earlier references are not given, though mention should be made of W.G. Harvey's 
contributions on coastal Tanzania. 


A pelagic species most frequently reported at sea, breeding on the north Kenya 

coast in hundreds, mainly in the Lamu archipelago but once at Whale Island 

(Watamu) , June to October. Breeding in thousands at Latham Island (east of Dar- 
es-Salaam) in November, though there are no inshore records from Tanzania. It 
may be encountered inshore in Kenya in small numbers at any season, mainly 
resting on fish traps of vertical mangrove poles, especially at Ras Iwetine 

(north end of Nyali Beach, Mombasa) and Kikcunbala. 

Readily confused with the next species, but the rounded (rather than forked) 
tail, slow flight and dark plumage with pale crown serve to distinguish these 
two noddies from all Sterna species. The only possible confusion is with the 
somewhat larger Sooty Tern Sterna fusoata in sooty-black immature dress. 


Normally sedentary around breeding sites in the Western Indian Ocean (Malagasy 
region) and recorded in Africcin waters for the first time in 1976, between 
25 August and 10 December, when as mciny as 220 were seen on or around the fish 
trap at Ras Iwetine, and smaller numbers elsewhere, north to the Tema River 
emd south to Kisite Island on the Tanzeinian border (Britton in press) . Though 
typically blacker, smaller, longer-billed, emd having a whiter crown than the 
Common Noddy, these Kenya birds were mainly in rather brown worn plximage, in 
heavy moult, including two dead birds, one of which is now in the National 
Museum collection. Not readily distinguished in the cQssence of Conmon Noddies 
for comparison. 

A dead bird at Kisite Island was emaciated with an empty stomach, suggesting 
that some or memy may have perished. Nevertheless, some of these birds may 
still be in our waters [March 1977] and there may be repetition of this quite 
unexpected 'invasion'. It may be coincidence that the first proper record of 
the Malagasy -breeding Red-footed Booby Sula sula in African waters was also 
during the 1976 south-east monsoon, when em immature was captured at Kilifi on 
24 October (Britton in press) . 

30 ffofit Afvican terns 

STERNA NILOTICA Gull-billed Tern 

A common Palaearctic visitor to Rift Valley lakes from August to April. Seen in 
all months in the vicinity of Malindi, at the Sabaki River mouth (=SabcJci) , 
Mida Creek and Watamu, but mainly present from mid August to mid April, with a 
wintering population of at least 100. Still unrecorded in Kenya south of Mida 
Creek, though small numbers reach Dar-es-Salaam regularly, October-April. It 
probably winters in substantial numbers in the Lamu archipelago. 

Many coastal birds have moulted to nuptial dress by late February, and the 
majority have completed moult by late March. The species is easy to identify 
in both plumages, especially perhaps in winter dress when the virtual absence 
of black on the head gives it a xanique appearance. Bill shape and the character- 
istic habit of dropping to the sand, but not alighting, to catch insects are 
useful characters. A cursory glance at some standard works may suggest that any 
tern with a wholly black bill will be this species, but it should be remembered 
that several smaller species also have black bills at times. 


There is no evidence that South African breeders reach East Africa, where this 
species is confined to the coast and Lake Turkana, apart from a bird at Nairobi 
Airport during the 1961 floods and an unpublished record of one which I saw 
with P.J. Donnelly at Lake Shakababo on the Lower Tana River on 2 July 1976. 
Birds of presumed Palaearctic origin arrive and leave early, and are present 
in the Lamu archipelago and at favoured sites aro\and Malindi from late July to 
late March or April. Very occasional in Tanzania (in December and March) and 
twice in Kenya south of Mida Creek. The Malindi wintering population peaks at 
25-35 in December- February, mainly at Sabaki, but there are very few (less 
than 10) this season (1976-77) . 

An anomalous, apparently resident, breeding population exists at Lake Turk- 
ana, where flocks of up to 100 are regular (Hopson & Hopson 1975) . Proper 
data on an early record of nesting at Crocodile (=Central) Island in March- 
April have not been forthcoming. A report of begging young near Loiyengalani 
in November 1971 has been interpreted as a record of breeding somewhere on 
the 250 km long lake (Britton & Brown 1974) , though such records should be 
treated cautiously as they might not necessarily imply recent breeding or 
breeding in the near vicinity (see Feare 1975) . There are, however, no records 
of breeding in neighbouring Ethiopia except on the Eritrean coast. 

Amongst East African terns this species is unmistakable, though the bright- 
ness of the orange-yellow bill of Lesser Crested Terns Sterna bengalensis in 
nuptial dress, especially in strong sunlight, has led some observers to 
erroneously report them as Caspian Terns. 


Two distinct races occur on the Easf African coast: Sterna b, thalassina^ with 
very pale grey mantle and wings, occurs commonly in Tanzania, breeding in 
thousands on Latham Island and other islands in the western Indian Ocean; and 
S. b. velox^ with mantle and wings slate-grey, which winters regularly in 
Kenya, breeding in the Gulf of Aden and Somalia (see Britton 1976) . Sterna h. 
thalassina lays in October-November at Latham Isleind and is most nvunerous at 
Dar-es-Salaam from December to Februcury. The race Velox occurs at Sabaki in 
all months, but flocks of 20 or more are recorded only from Jemuary to June, 
and it hardly occurs south of nearby Mida Creek. Apparently dependent immature 
velox (with blackish markings above) are reguleir at Sabaki as late as December, 
though Somalia breeding records are in August-September. 

East African terns 31 

Lesser Crested Tern and Caspian Tern. The bill of both S*d.ft Tern and Lesser 
Crested Tern is described as yellow by Mackworth-Praed & Grant (1957) but 
they eire in fact q\iite different: the Lesser Crested has a bright yellow or 
yellow-orange bill whereas Swift Terns of both races have an insipid pale 
yellow bill (well illustrated by Heinzel, Fitter & Parslow 1972) . The dark 
mantle of velox renders it unmistakable, but thalassina is similarly coloured 
to several Sterna species. Hie colour plate in Mackworth-Praed & Grant (1957) 
is probably intended to represent thalass'Cnaj and the plate in Heinzel et at. 
(1972) is evidently of thdtassina too, despite the fact that only velox occurs 
in the area covered by the book. Further confusion arises from the fact that 
the Swift Tern is illustrated as a paler bird than the Lesser Crested Tern, yet 
in the text it is said to have a ' darker grey plumage ' . Mantle colouration of 
Lesser Crested Terns is in fact intejnnediate between velox and thaXassina. 


A rare Palaearctic visitor to East Africa, for which there is only one Teuizania 
record and five Kenya records (including sightings at three localities during 
the 1976-77 season, Britton 1977) . Unmistakable if a good view is obtained. 
Size and proportions are indistingxiishable from the Lesser Crested Tern, but its 
paler, silver-grey mantle, and black bill with pale yellow tip, are diagnostic. 
Lesser Crested Terns never have a similar partly black and partly yellow bill, 
even when immature. Though often gro\:5>ed with the Gull-billed Tern in books on 
Eviropean birds, they are dissimileu: in all respects except size and body 
colouration . 


Breeding abundantly in the Red Sea and Somalia and a conmon visitor to our 
coasts, mainly between December and Maurch, when as many as 500 have been 
recorded at Dar-es-Salaam and a flock of 700 (meucimum 1150) is regular at Sabaki, 
It may be encountered anywhere in all months. An easy species to recognize by 
its bright yellow bill, which is very bright and orange-yellow when in nuptial 
dress in May-July, prior to departure for its breeding grounds. It should be 
looked for inland where there are five records from the Rift Valley Lakes in 
August-September, mainly at Lake Txirkana (Hopson & Hopson 1975) . 


The coomonest species on the Kenya coast, breeding in thousands on the Kiunga 
Islands and erratically at Whale Island (1500 pairs) , Kisite Island (1000 padrs 
in 1976) . In Temzania it has bred at various sites but not reported since 
1960 (300 adults at Dar-es-Salaam); most breeding reports were July-August. 
Present evidence suggests that only a proportion of adult birds breed in cmy 
one yeeu:, so that adults in all plumages may be seen near occupied breeding 
sites. It may be seen in any month in Kenya, occurring in thousemds at several 
localities in July-November, but mainly disappeeiring after this, and virtually 
absent from the leurid flocks at Sabaki from mid November to July. 

Thcmas & Elliott (1973) have noted that, compared with populations of the 
sub-trqpics or temperate regions, birds from tropical populations tend to be 
smaller and whiter below with no discernible pink flush, cmd redder-billed when 
in nuptial dress, and have the pale grey of the memtle emd scapulcurs more 
heavily overled.d with buffy mottling when juvenile. The photograph in Brown 
(1975), taken on the Kiunga breeding grounds, shows a very white bird with a 
mainly white bill, though a specimen from the Dar-es-Salaam breeding colony 
has half the v¥>per mandible black (Thomas & Elliott 1973) . Having seen the 
Kiunga emd Whale Island colonies, including the birds sho%m in Brown (1975) , 
I had also concluded that the underside lacked a pink flush; but some pre- 
breeding birds at Ras Iwetine in Nay euid Jvine 1976 had a discernible pink flush 

32 East African terns 

on the xanderside, first pointed out to me by H. Pelchen (in Zitt,) . I looked 
again for signs of pink on Kisite Island breeders in August 1976 but detected 
none. It is presumably lost early in the breeding season as are the bizarre 
soft part colours of breeding herons and egrets, which begin to change 
immediately after laying. 

The majority of Roseate Terns seen in Kenya away from the breeding islands 
are not adults in nuptial dress, and they are difficult to distinguish from 
Common Terns S, hirundo except on size. The bill is usually wholly black and 
there are often dark areas on the wings, visible both in flight and at rest. 
I have not fovmd the subtle differences described in texts on European birds 
(for example, translucent areas in the wings) very useful or reliable, and 
find that my only entirely satisfactory records are of birds seen in company 
with White-cheeked Terns S. repressa which are intermediate in size with short 
legs, and readily distinguished in most plumages (see below) . 


Undoubtedly overlooked on our coasts where it certainly occurs in hxindreds, 
mainly in December- April, and there is an inland record of a bird ringed at 
Lake Nakuru on 26 September. This Palaearctic migrant is mainly present on the 
coast after the main exodus of Roseate Terns in November. Its larger size 
compared with the very similar Roseate Tern and closely related White-cheeked 
Tern is probably the best character if two or more of these sibling species 
are seen together, even if the Common Terns are in n\:^tial dress, as were birds 
at Ras Iwetine on 28 March 1976. 

STERNA REPRESSA White-cheeked Tern 

A breeding population of up to 1000 pairs on the Kixonga Islands each July- 
September, but rather local elsewhere in Kenya and few Tanzania records. Usually 
in small numbers but 1400 at Sabaki in June 1975. 

Dark colouration both above and below, contrasting with the white 'cheek', 
render it virtually unmistakable when in partial or complete nuptial dress, 
though it superficially resembles a Whiskered Tern S. hybrida^ with which it 
might perhaps be confused. Whiskered Terns are rare on the coast however, and 
the bill of the White-cheeked Tern is mainly black and longer (see photograph 
in Brown 1975) and the tail is more deeply forked. The markedly short legs 
are very useful in separating White-cheeked Terns from the longer-legged 
Common and Roseate Terns. Out of nuptial dress, this species is darker-mantled 
and heavier -bodied than the other two, and there are often smudges of grey on 
the underside. 


A mainly pelagic species with a breeding population of about 750 pairs in the 
Lamu archepelago and at Whale Isleind, laying from mid July to late August. 
Recorded at Zanzibar, emd very occasionally in Kenya away from the breeding 
grounds, including two at Kisite Island on 4 September 1976. 

Being dusky or brownish above and rather large (though smaller than the 
Swift Tern) it can only be confused with the Sooty Tern S. fusoata which is 
similar in adult plumage though quite different when immatxire. A good view is 
necessary, when the smaller size and browner mantle of the Bridled Tern, with 
white nape and a white eyebrow extending behind the eye as a narrow line, are 
diagnostic. The immature might be confused with the immature Swift Tern, 
though the latter heis a pale bill. 

East African terns 33 

near Lamu at Tenewe Island. It has bred at Mafia, and there were at least 
100 with breeding Roseate Terns at Kisite Island in August 1976, though there 
is no proof that they led.d. This or the previous species is often seen at 
sea. Southern birds are likely to be this species whereas birds north of 
Mombasa might be either. Identification is not difficult if a good view is 
obtadned. A.W. Dieunond (in titt.) considers its bounding flight emd soaring 
to be diagnostic. 

STERNA HYBRIDA Whiskered Tern 

The African subspecies S, h, delatandii breeds in northern Tanzania and at Lake 
Naivasha. It is regular at Manyara and Tarangire National Parks, and possibly 
so at Lake Nakxiru. It is likely to breed regularly at LeJce NauLvasha where 
dozens can usually be seen, though there is only one definitive breeding record, 
of a colony with floating nests in a lily patch in May-June 1966. Distinguish- 
able from paler nominate Palaearctic birds when in nuptial dress, and recorded 
as far north-west as Ahero and Moiben. Nominate birds probably reach the 
coast and Rift Valley lakes in Kenya regularly, though there is in fact no 
specimen from East Africa. 

It is unlikely to be confused with any species other than the White-cheeked 
Tern when in nuptial dress. In other plvimages it might well be confused with 
coastal species, and may be overlooked on the Kenya coast where there are still 
only two records, in 1961 and 1964, but it is lanlikely to be confused with 
any species inland. It is larger and heavier-bioilt with a slower flight than 
other marsh terns (this and the following two species, often placed in the 
genus Chlidonias) , from which it is readily distingviished in breeding plumage, 
and it is paler with less black on the nape in winter plumage. 

STERNA LEUCOPTERA White-winged Black Tern 

An abundemt Palaearctic visitor to inland sites but decidedly uncommon on the 
coast. Early references to breeding in East Africa should be disregarded. 
The nuptial dress is xanmistakable, and it lacks the dark 'shoulder* mark of 
the next species at other seasons. 


Only a single record, of a specimen obtained at Kisumu on 30 April 1916. It may 
well be overlooked amongst hundreds or thousands of feeding marsh terns, of 
which only a small proportion can be examined closely. 


The race saundersi is common on the Kenya coast and occasional south to Teuizaniaj 
mainly from October to April, when flocks of up to 3000 occxir at Malindi and 
Sabaki. There is no evidence that it breeds on the Kenya coast, though it 
does so as near as Brava in southern Somalia. All birds seen well in nuptial 
dress are saundersi^ with orange-brown legs (not lemon as in nominate Palae- 
arctic birds) and yellow bill with a black tip. There is no evidence that 
nominate birds reach East Africa. 

The amomalous Lake Turkana population shows chcuracteristics of saundersi^ 
though there is still no specimen. In the absence of inland records in 
Ethiopia, there is every reason to believe that it breeds at Lake Turkana as 
an isolated population, possibly in dunes. It is frequently seen in hundreds, 
though Hopson & Hopson (1975) point out that there is no evidence to suggest 
that it has bred between 1971 and 1975. A single bird at Lake Naivasha may 
well have been a vagrant frcnn Lake Turkana. 

Most birds are in ncun-breeding or immature plxxnage with bill and legs black, 
but the small size of this species renders it unmistakable, especially if other 

34 East African terns 


BRITTON, H.A. & BRITTGN, P.L. 1976. Records section (Birds). EANHS Bulletin 
1976: 52-61. 

. P.L. 1976. The race of Sterna hergii in Kenya. Bulletin of the British 

Ornithologists' Club 96: 132-134. 
1977. Further Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvioensis records on the 

north Kenya coast. Scopus 1: 48. 

in press. First African records of two Malagasy sea-birds. 

Bulletin of the British Ornithologists* Club 97. 

& BROWN, L.H. 1974. The status and breeding behaviour of East 

African Lari. Ostrich 45: 63-82. 
BROWN, L.H. 1975. East Afrioan coasts and reefs, Nairobi: E.A.P.H. 

FEARE, C.J. 1975. Post-fledging parental care in Crested and Sooty Terns. 
Condor 11 i 368-370. 

HEINZEL,H., FITTER, R. & PARSLOW, J. 1972. The birds of Britain and Europe with 
North Africa and the Middle East. London: Collins. 

HOPSCN, A.J. & HOPSON, J. 1975. Preliminary notes on the birds of the Lake 
Turkana area. Cyclostyled, Kitale. 

THOMAS, D.K. & ELLIOTT, H.F.I. 1973. Nesting of the Roseate Tern {Sterna dou- 
gallii) near Dar es Salaam. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' 
Club 93: 21-23. 

(Received 25 March 1977) 


P,C. Lack 


Friedncuin's Bush-Lark was described by Friedmann (1930a) from a specimen 
collected by E.A. Meams on 19 May 1912 on the north side of the Sagon River, 
southern Shoa, Ethiopia. On the same expedition, one adult and two young 
individuals of a similar bird were collected on the northern Guaso Nyiro River 
near Archer's Post, Kenya, and these were described and named Mirafra Candida 
by Friedmann (193CA>) . Since then there has been some argument over the status 
of these two forms, and their relationship to each other, to the Marsabit Lark 
W. williamsi (described by MacDonald 1956), the Singing Bush-Lark M. cantillans 
marginata from East Africa and the White-tailed Bush-Lark M, passerina from 
parts of South Africa. 

The main views cam be summarized cis follows: Mackworth-Praed & Grant in 
their Hcmdbooks merge both pulpa and Candida into M. c. marginata (Series I, 
vol 2, 1960) and keep M. passerina separate (Series II, vol 1, 1962). Mirafra 
williamsi is also kept separate (Addenda of Series I, vol 2, 1960). White (1961), 
however, merges pulpa, Candida and williamsi into one species - by priority 
M, pulpa - and merges cantillans marginata and passerina into W. jaoanica. 
Finally, Hall & Moreau (1970) keep all separate except for sinking Candida into 
pulpa (see also Hall (1961) for a specific appraisal) . 

Nirafra pulpa 


this agrees most closely with my ea^eriences in the field of pulpa and oantill- 
ans warginata (hereafter referred to without the siibspecific name but the race 
marginata should be inplied throvighout) and with what I have seen of museum 
specimens and descriptions in the literatxire of other species. English neunes 
follow Mackworth-Praed & Grant (1960, 1962) . 

In the past four years, three more specimens of Af. pulpa have been collected in 
Tsavo National Park, Kenya as detedled below; all three are in the National 
Museum, Nedrobi. 

1. reg. no. 16142 - collected by G.C. Backhurst at Ngulia Safari Lodge, 
Tsavo N.P. (West) on 2 December 1972. The bird had killed itself against 

a wall inside the Lodge at 04.00 hrs. .This specimen wais sent to the United 
States National Museum and compared with the type by G.E. Watson. The two 
specimens listed below were compared in Neu.robi with no. 16142. 

2. reg. no. 16143 - a male collected by D.J. Pecurson, at the Ngulia Safari 
Lodge lights at 04.00 hrs on 12 November 1974. 

3. reg. no. 16144 - a male which I collected near Voi Safari Lodge, Tsavo 
N.P. (East) on 4 January 1977. 

Bicanetric data of these three birds and of the types of Af. pulpa and M. Candida 
are given in Table 1, 


Biometrio data of specimens of Mirafra pulpa 







Hind- toe 




length depth 



































pulpa type 





















* = measured from feathers 
** = measured from skull 
t = still growing 

Notes: weights (g) from museum labels; measurements (mm) of the Nairobi Museum 
specimens taken by myself; measurements (inn) of the types from Hall (196! 

Other data from the specimens are as follows : 
16142: iris brown, bill horn-brown, feet pinkish; 

16143: iris brown, bill, upper blackish, lower pink-horn, feet fleshy pink; 
16144: iris dark brown, bill, upper dark horn, lower (and lower edge of upper) 
paler hoim, feet dark flesh. 

The skull of 16144 was fully pnevanatized emd the bird had testes c. 5 nm long. 
The stomach contained grass seeds, insect remains (which included small grass- 
hoppers cind beetles, probably weevils), and a lot of small quartz grains 
(G.R. Cxmningham-van Someren pers. comn.). 


Upperparts: brown with paler edges to the feathers (especially so on the back 

of the neck) emd with contrasting, darker centres. 

Head: crown as upperparts; a slight, pale eyestripe; lores brown and a whitish 

line sepcurating these from a dark brown conglomeration of spots on the side of 

36 Mirafra pulpa 

the upper breast. 

Underparts: throat white, breast slightly tawny with dark brown spots, belly 

white with a faint tawny tinge, but this might be soil stain as the bird was 

collected in a red soil area. 

Wings: primaries and secondaries brown with rufous outer edges, tertials 

reddish-brown with paler edges and darker centres, wing-coverts: similar 

patterning to the upperparts but reddish -brown, not brown, basal colour, and 

with very dark sxjbterminal spots. 

Tail (all feathers on this specimen are only half-grown) : other specimens show 

the outer feathers, and the outer web of the next, white; the inner web of 

this, and the next two, very dark brown, and the two innermost paler, and 

slightly rufous, with their edges paler still. 


I have compared the three M. pulpa in Nairobi directly with specimens of Rufous 

Short-toed Lark Calandrella somalioa^ Fawn-coloured Lark Mirafra africanoides , 

Northern White-tailed Bush-Lark M, alhicauda) M, aantillans^ Flappet Lark 

M. rufoainnamomea and M. williamsiy and have also looked at these and M. pass- 

erina in the British Museum, but without direct comparison with M. pulpa. 

Differences noted are as follows (in each case the race which occurs nearest 

Tsavo has been compared) : 

Calandrella somalioa: slightly smaller and generally paler and greyer, 

especially on the mantle, and the primaries have much less rufous. The only 
white in the tail is on the outer web of the outermost feather. 

Mirafra africanoides: slightly larger; more black and white and less brown 
evident on the upperparts; considerably more rufous on the primaries and 
less on the tertials; tail as in C. somalioa, 

Mirafra albioauda: very dark, almost black on the upperparts. 

Mirafra aantillans: smaller and much greyer; much less patterning eind no rufoxis 
on the tertials or wing-coverts. See also field characters given below. 

Mirafra passerina: slightly larger; vipperparts and wing-coverts much less 

patterned and there is almost no rufous on the wing-coverts or tertials. 
Less white in the tail and the bill is somewhat heavier. 

Mirafra rufoainnamomea: no white in tail. 

Mirafra williamsi: the five specimens I have seen (two in Nairobi and three in 
the British Musexam) are rather variable in general colour. They are 
fairly similar to pulpa but are much more uniform on the upperparts, and 
the bill looks considerably heavier (see Table 2). For other specific 
differences see Hall (1961) and Keith & Twomey (1968) . 

Bill measurements of Mirafra williamsi 

Nairobi Museum British Museum 
12 12 3 

length (to feathers) 



12.5 13.0 14.0 
7.5 7.5 7.5 
6.5 7.0 7.5 

13.5 14.0 
8.0 8.0 
7.5 8.0 

Notes: measurements (mm) taken by myself in a similar way to those of pulpa 
in TcUole 1. 

Mirafra pulpa 37 


The following notes are based almost entirely on observations made before I had 
secured a specimen and had identified the species positively. The birds 
involved were noted as a separate 'species' on the basis of their song. 

The song is very characteristic, a single drawn-out 'hoo-ee-oo' with a 
slight esophasis on the middle part. This phrase is repeated at intervals of 
one or two seconds and is uttered frcan a perch (usually on top of a bush or 
small tree) or while 'floating' around in undxilating flight, vp to about 10m, 
though more usually at around 5 m. It rarely flies aroxind singing for longer 
than 20-30 s at a time. The song carries a long way and the bird sings 
throughout the day and may also be heard at night, particularly at full moon. 
I did not hear any other call. 

The song is very unlike either Qantitlans or passei>ina^ two of its closest 
relatives. M-irafra oant'Cltans has a ragged four-note trill which reminded me 
strongly of the song of a Com Bunting Eniberiza aatandra in Europe. This is 
usually uttered in a prolonged song-flight at arovind 50m (cf. pulpa). 
Mirafra passerina's song is described as a monotonous ' chloritwee ' , uttered 
from the ground, a bush, or from the air at no great height, and it also calls 
in the moonlight (McLachlan & Liversidge 1970) . The song and calls of Mirafra 
williamsi are unknown. 

The preferred habitat of pulpa in Tsavo East is rather open 'bushed grass- 
land' (bush canopy, cover about 2-8 per cent.) with a fair amoimt of grass. 
It also occasionally occurs in areas of denser bushes . Most of my records are 
from the western side of the Park. It is not common anywhere and there are 
many areas which appear to be suitable habitat but contain no pulpa, Mirafra 
cantillans also occurs; it is rather more widespread and is often found in 
grassland without any bushes, in addition to 'bushed grassland' 

All but two of my records of pulpa are in December and January; that is, 
they arrive soon after the start of the so-called 'short' rains and leave 
about a month into the following dry season. The other two records were on 
30 March and 16 April 1976 in the so-called 'long' rains. This pattern of 
occurrence is paralleled by several other intra-African migrants, and I think it 
is probable that more of these species as well as pulpa would reappear in 
April-May if these 'long' rains were good. But in both 1975 and 1976, when I 
was in Tsavo, they effectively failed. 

There are two facts which suggest that this is a real movement, as opposed 
to them going unnoticed at other times of year because they are not singing: 

a) very few birds resembling pulpa were seen at other times of the year, 
especially in 1976. I did not try to distinguish pulpa from cantillans 

in the field (unless singing) and the lack of records over most of the year 
suggests that both are migrants, as cantillans certainly is in Tcmzcinia (Mack- 
worth-Praed & Grant 1960) and probably also at Ngulia where D.J. Pearson (pers. 
comm.) caught one inside the Lodge at night on 6 December 1972. 

b) the two specimens from Ngulia were collected at the Lodge at night, 
presumably having been attracted to the lights along with large numbers of 
Palaearctic and some other intra-African migrants known to be moving at the 
time (see Pearson & Backhurst 1976) . Also, they were collected at the time 
of year when my birds seemed to be moving into Tsavo East. 

The lack of records from the dry season, and the preference for the western 
side of the Park and a fair amount of grass, suggest that the species might 
prefer a wetter area than most of Tsavo East Ccin provide; this has been 
suggested before (Hall 1961) as a possible ecological separation from williamsi 
which appears to be restricted to the dry overgrazed areas in the northern 
Kenya deserts. 

38 Mirafra pulpa 

Mirafra pulpa is usually rather shy and will not allow a closer approach 
thcin about 50 m. When disturbed from a bush it will usually fly into the grass. 
Its flight is rather slow, unlike oantittans which flies low and fast and 
stops abruptly by diving into the grass. M. pulpa probably feeds predominantly 
on the ground like most other larks, but I have no observations of feeding 
individuals. Also, I have no definite breeding records though I suspect that 
they probably breed in Tsavo. 

There have been two recent possible records of M. pulpa which I will give 
as they may well be supported by future positive observations. Following my 
description of the song, A.D. Forbes-Watson observed some possible pulpa in 
Rhino Valley, Tsavo N.P. (West) on 1-2 January 1977. Miss P.M. Allen and 
Mrs L. Campbell saw a lark in Meru N.P. in early January 1977; later, in the 
National Museum, Nairobi they picked out my specimen of pulpa as the species 
they had seen (G.R. Cunningham-van Someren in litt,) . 


Apart from pulpa and oantillans there are two other species of Mirafra in Tsavo 
East, the Red-winged Bush Lark A/, hypermetra and the Pink -breasted Lark 
M. poeoilostema. Both are residents although an example of hypermetra has 
been caught at the Ngulia lights in Tsavo West at 05.00 hrs on 26 December 
1976 (G.C. Backhurst pers. comm.). M. hypermetra, which is a great deal 
larger thcin pulpa^ occurs commonly in grassland, usually with some bushes or 
dead sticks, which it uses as song-posts. It has a varied and melodious song, 
often imitating other species. M. poeoilostema occurs commonly almost eveiry- 
where in the Park except in very open habitats and in very thick Commiphora 
woodland scrub. It is rather more pipit-like and has a rather squeaky song of 
3-4 slow introductory notes followed by 3-4 quicker ones on a slightly 
descending scale. 

There remain many questions concerning A/, pulpa (and other similar larks); 
the main one concerns its range at various seasons, and whether or not the 
whole population is migratory. The Ngulia specimens suggest that the Tsavo 
birds arrive from further north, and all other specimens (assuming Candida = 
pulpa) have been from north of Tsavo. However, most of this area is very 
dry which does not fit well with the species' apparent preference for wetter 
areas of Tsavo. One specimen suggests that they may spend at least some of 
the non -breeding season aroxind Isiolo - the adult * Candida^ was in wing-moult 
(Friedmcinn 1930b) . Also, the type of pulpa was collected in May in Ethiopia, 
which might be taken to show that some of the population might be non -migrat- 
ory; May is a time when some birds might be expected to be still in Tsavo 
after good 'long' rains. Another point worth considering is that suitable 
habitat has only appeared in Tsavo to any extent in the last 20 years as the 
Cormriphora woodland scrub has been progressively opened up by elephants and 
fire. Perhaps, therefore, the whole migratory behaviour of the species is 
a recent development. 


^^ field observations amplify the view of Hall & Moreau (1970) for keeping 
Mirafra pulpa a separate species, at least from M. oantillans, I have not 
seen the specimens of M. oandida but there seems to be general agreement 
that it is the same species as pulpa. Similarly, I agree with others that 
M. williamsi should also be kept separate, at least until someone has studied 
it in the field 


I am very grateful to Mr A.J. Cam, then Warden of Tsavo National Park (East), 
for shooting the specimen of M, pulpa. My work in Tsavo weus sv^ported by a 
Royal Society Leverhulme Studentship, the Frank M. Chapman Fund and 

Mirafra pulpa 39 

the National Audxjbon Society; I am very grateful to these bodies. Dr I. Swing- 
land and A.D. Forbes-Watson kindly read an earlier draft of this paper. 


FRIEDMANN, H. 1930a. A lark new to science from southern Ethiopia. Occasional 
Papers of the Boston Society of Natural History 5: 257-259. 

1930b. A lark new to science from north-central Kenya Colony. 

Auk 41 z 418-419. 

HALL, B.P. 1961. The status of Mirafra pulpa and Mirafra Candida. Bulletin of 
the British Ornithologists' Club 81: 108-111. 

KEITH, S. & TWCMEY, A. 1968. New distributional records of some East African 
birds. Ibis 110: 537-548. 

MacDOMALD, J.D. 1956. A new species of lark from Kenya. Bulletin of the British 
Ornithologists' Club 76: 70-72. 

MACKWORTH-PRAED, C.W. & GRANT, C.H.B. 1962. African handbook of birds Series II 
vol. 1 Birds of the southern third of Africa. London: Longmans Green & Co. 

McLACHLAN, G.R. & LIVERSIDGE, R. 1970. Roberts' birds of South Africa. 3rd 
edition. Cape Town: Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund. 

PEARSON, D.J. & BACKHURST, G.C. 1976. The southward migration of Palaearctic 
birds over Ngulia, Kenya. Ibis 118: 78-105. 

Feter C. Lack^ Tsavo Research Station^ Box 14 ^ Voij Kenya. Present address: 
E.G.I./A.E.R.G.y Department of Zoology^ South Parks Road^ Oxford^ England. 

(Received 11 May 1977) 


Backhurst, Britton & Mann (1973.) reviewed the occurrence and status of what 
they then considered as the less common Palaearctic migrants of Kenya and 
Tanzania, taking into account records up to June 1971. A number of scattered 
records and accounts of scarcer migrants have since appeared, mostly in EANHS 
Bulletin. The sub -committee Bird Report should now provide a means of collating 
and reviewing such records on a regular annual basis, and the first such report, 
dealing principally with material from the second half of 1976, and from 1977, 
is planned for pviblication during 1978. In the meantime we are aware of a 
considerable backlog of unp\ablished Palaearctic records which we have collated 
here. This list attempts to canplete the updating of the paper of Backhurst 
et al. to June 1976 and includes, in addition, some exceptional records of 
commoner species not within the province of the 1973 paper. The following 
account is divided into two parts, the first of which appears here, emd the 
second, which includes the Passerines, will appear in the September Scopus. 
All records are for Kenya unless followed by 'T* (= Tanzemia). 

Most of the records here were submitted for inclusion in the Records Section of 
the EANHS Bulletin; a few were published (1976: 80-82) and are repeated here, 
preceeded by an asterisk. It should be stressed that the records presented 
here have not been verified by the sub-committee - many were submitted without 
any supporting details. 

* Conpiled by menbers of the E.A.N.H.S. Ornithological sub-committee. 

40 Recent Palaearctic records 


A male seen at close range, Athi R. , 26 Dec 75. The pale buffish sides of the 

face and neck indicated it was of the nominate Palaearctic race (DJP) . 

CI CON I A NIGRA Black Stork 

Regular Nairobi N.P., Dec-Mar 67-68 and 68-69, max. 3 (HB) ,- late birds there 

6 Apr 69 and 10 Apr 73 (DAT), and 2 31 Dec 72 ( JG) ; 3 on 30 Nov 74, 8 on 18 Jan 

75, singles 25 Oct 75 and 21 Dec 75 (BSM) . Galana R., Tsavo East, Jan-Feb 71- 

75 (DAT) and 8 Feb 76. Kibwezi, 1 on 16 Feb 75 (DJP); 1 Tiva R. , Tsavo East, 

11 Nov 75 (PL); Athi R. at Fourteen Falls, 1 on 24 Feb 74 (BSM, JKW,DW) . 

1 Treetops, 28 Mar 68 (DAT); 1 Naivasha, Jan 71 (HB) ; 1 Samburu, 4 Feb 71 (DAT); 

1 Kakamega Forest, 20 Jan 75 (CFM,BSM) ; Karura Forest, 1 on 14 Feb 76 seen 

feeding on water-beetles along Ruiruaka R. (BSM) . 


Hiandreds on the north shore of L. Nakuru Nov-Apr during the early 1970s (many 
observers) , numbers peaking in 73-74 when G.H. Yeoman {per GCB) counted 
6000 on 13 Jan 74. 


Nairobi N.P.: 3, 15-21 Jan 67; 4, 31 Dec 72; 5, 14 Jan 73 (all DAT). Ngoron- 
goro, T, 3, 14 Feb 67 (DAT); 2-4, Athi R., 12 Dec 72-4 Mar 73 (DJP); 5-6, Lake 
Nakuru, 17 Jan 73 (DAT) . 


Ngorongoro, T, : 1, 27 Feb 69; 15-20, Jan-Feb 70; 5-6, Jan-Feb 71 (all DAT). 
L. Lygarga, T, a few, 20 Jan 70; L. Naivasha, a few, 19 Jan 71; 25 near 
Nyaharuru Falls, 21 Feb 73; 30+, L. Paradise, Marsabit, 20 Jan 74 (all DAT). 
100, El Molo Bay, L. Turkana,12Feb 76 (ADF-W) ; male, Aruba, 4 Mar 76 (PL). 
Groups of 2-10, L. 01 Bolossat, 8 Dec 74 and 2 there 2 7 Jan 76 (JS) . 


L. Naivasha, 1 female on 1 Jan 74 (BSM) 


30+, L. Nakuru, 19 Jan 72 (DAT); 9, Arxaba, 3 Feb 72 (DAT); 1 female, Athi R., 

Dec 72 (JG) ; 3, Juja, 26 Dec 75 (GRCvS) ; 3, El Molo Bay, L. Turkana, 12 Feb 76 
(ADF-W) . 

AQUILA CLANGA Spotted Eagle 

An adult watched settled on mud at (3.40 m, L. Nakuru, 16 Oct 71. Apart from 
some white marks on the r\amp, the entire body and head were dark purplish- 
brown. The bill was weaker looking than that of a Tawny Eagle A. rccpax (DJP, 
JGR) . Another record from L. Nakuru, 2 Dec 71 (DAT, GSK) may have referred to 
the same bird. An adult, L. Magadi, 2 3 Nov 75, perched on a low dead tree. 
It was blackish-brown except for white in the upper tail coverts. The head and 
bill appeared smaller than in a Steppe Eagle, and the flight less clumsy. 
The underside was all dark in flight (DJP) . 

AQUILA HELIACA Imperial Eagle 

*One seen and photographed near Olduvai Gorge, T, 20 Jan 70 (DAT) . An immature 
was watched together with an immature Steppe Eagle A. rapax nipalensis near 
Gilgil, 7 Mar 76 as it circled low overhead (DKR) . The observer notes "...much 
larger wingspan than Steppe Eagle, the wings being very long and square. On 
the underwing the primaries and secondaries were dark brown, separated by a 
pale area in the inner primaries. Trailing edge of the wing had a pale, 
indistinct line and less of a S-shaped curve than the Steppe had. The body 
and underwing coverts were an even pale brown, the tail dark brown. Upperparts 
appeared almost completely dark brown with a small pale area on the rump." 
Colour slides were obtained. 

AQUILA POMERINA Lesser Spotted Eagle 

An adult and an immature, Amboseli, 7 Jan 74, perched with a group of Tawny 

Recent Palaearctio records 41 

Eagles. Darker brown and smaller than the Tawnys, with more rounded harrier- 
like heads and weaker looking bills. The immature had a pale nape patch and 
spotting on the wing coverts. Both birds showed some white in the primary 
bases and on the rump/lower back. In soaring flight overhead, the tail was 
held fanned, and appeared larger and less wedge-shaped than in the Tawnys (DJP, 
GLC) . Three-four seen along the Garissa road 120km E. of Thika, moving in 
rain with Steppe Eagles, 11 Nov 74 (DAT). Much smaller size, very noticeable 
when perched. Backhurst et at. (op. ait.) give only one definite previous 
Kenya record of the species, although it has been reported recently for the 
country (Dowsett 1975, Campbell & Campbell 1975, Hopson & Hopson 1975), and 
migrates in considerable numbers to spend the winter in southern Africa. 

BUTEO RUFINUS Long-legged Buzzard 

One just north of Marsabit, 22 Apr 73: "Excellent views. A large buzzard with 
prominent, unbarred rufous tail. More slender in profile than Augur Buteo 
rufofuscus. Very light buffy underparts, no black markings on head and pale 
'windows' on underwing." (HB) . 


Seen at Ndutu, Serengeti, T, on the very early date of 19 Aug 72 (DAT) . 


L = light phase, D = dark phase 

Ngulia, Tsavo West: IL, 27 Nov 71; IL, 2 Dec 72; IL, 23 Nov 74; IL, ID, 26 Nov 

74; IL, 6 Dec 75; ID, 11 Dec 75; ID, 3 Jan 76 (all DJP) ; IL, 21 Feb 75; 

IL, 2 Mar 75 (DAT). Voi: IL, 3D, moving S., 5 Jan 76 (PL, DJP) ; 1, Tsavo Gate, 

13 Jan 73 and 1, Buchuma, 16 Jan 73 (both OWF) . IL, Central Is., L. Turkana, 

22 Oct 71 (HB) . IL, Nairobi, 19 Feb 72 and another, 16 Apr 75 (DJP) . 

2L, Njoro, 11 Nov 73; IL, 21 Feb 76 and IL, 20 Mar 76 (all JS) . 

Backhurst et at. (op. ait.) could list only eight Kenya records up to 1971. 

The species has undoubtedly been much overlooked in the past, particularly in 

its dark form. 

FALCO AMUEENSIS Eastern Red-footed Falcon 

A male, Naivasha, 3 Dec 68 (HB) . 20+, Ruaha N.P., T, 5 Dec 70 with Hobbies 
F. subbuteo and Lesser Kestrels F. naumanni (DAT); 1, Serengeti, T, 27 Mar 73 
(DAT) . A male, Kamboyo, Tsavo West, 28 Apr 74, (GCB) . A male, Maungu, Tsavo 
East, 24 Nov 75 (PL) ; 25 probable + 16 definite, near Irima, Tsavo East, 
25 Nov 75 (PL); 30, 10km N. of Voi, 27 Nov 75 (PL). 


Two, L. Naivasha, 29 Mar 75 (BSM) . 

FALCO CONCOLOE Sooty Falcon ^ 

8-10, Gombe Stream, T, 29 Oct 72, (ADF-W, DAT); 1, Ruaha N.P., T, 7 Dec 70 (DAT) 

FALCO ELEONOEAE Eleonora's Falcon 

Two near Irangi Forest Station, Embu, 10 Nov 74, feeding on termites at dusk. 

"Both uttered a loud, harsh 'kee-kee-kee-kee-kee' in flight. Black streaking 

on a rufous breast clearly visible as birds swooped overhead at less than 20 

feet above me. Noticeably much thicker-set than Hobby F. subbuteo^ more 

like Peregrine F. peregrinus in shape" (DAT) . 

See p. 44 for the first Kenya record of this species. 


Three seen at Ol Donyo Sabuk, 23 Sep 73 were exceptionally early (DAT) . 

CEEX CEEX Corncrake 

One near Narok, 4 Dec 71 (DAT); singles at Ngulia, Tsavo West, 6 Dec 72, 18 Dec 
72 and 15 Dec 74 (DJP) . Two males collected at Dar-es -Salaam, T, as follows: 
21 Apr 76, fat, 183 g , wing 135 mm, each testis 5x4 mm ; 30 Apr 76, f at, 180 g , 
wing 135 mm, each testis 2x1 mm . Both birds in breeding plumage. These seem 
to be the second and third records from coastal EA, (KMH) . 

42 Recent Palaearotio records 


One ringed Ngulia, 6 Jan 73 (DJP) j 1 ringed Kariobangi, Nairobi, 4 May 73 (DJP) . 


*1 on burnt groxmd in the Serengeti, 21 Jan 71, believed to be the first 

record from Tanzania (DAT) . 


One, Lake Magadi, 6 Dec 75, roosting in company with Little Stints Cdlidris 
minuta. Similar in size to the stints but longer legged, and general colour 
browner. Dark upperparts, sides of head to below eye and narrow pectoral 
patch. Wide white forehead, light but not white supercilium and collar on hind 
neck. Legs dark, greyish-green (JS) . 

CHARADRIUS DUBIUS Little Ringed Plover 

Scarcer L. Nakuru than it was in the late 1960s; several single records 71-72 

and 1, 22 Dec 75 (DJP). L. Naivasha: 1, 26 Nov 73 (DJP); 2, 14 Dec 73 (DJP); 

3, 13 Jan 74 (GCB) ; 2 (1 ringed), 2 Feb 74 (DJP). L. Bogoria: 1, 26 Oct 73 
and 2, 9 Feb 74 (DJP). 2, Garissa, 2 Nov 74 (DJP); 1, Kariobangi, 25 Feb 75 
(DJP); 3, Tsavo R., 25 Dec 73 (GCB). 

PLUVIALIS DOMINICA Lesser Golden Plover 

One, L. Nakuru, 15 Oct 72 (DJP); 2, Aruba, Tsavo East, 5 Jan 76 (DJP,PL) . 

On both occasions it was noted that the birds were similar in body size to a 

female Ruff Philomaahus pugnax. "The slow powerful wingbeats of this species 

contrast, to my mind, with the winnowing flight of the European Golden Plover". 

(DJP) . These appear to be the first inland records of this species in Kenya. 


INLAND RECORDS: single birds at L. Magadi on 1 Sep 74 (GCB) , 16 Nov 75 (DKR) 

and 22 Nov 75 (DJP) , and at L. Nakuru on 5 Nov 67 (DJP) and 7 Oct 72 (GCB) . 


One N. of Kilifi, 8 Jul 73 (HB) ; 1, L. Nakuru, 26 Sep 75 (RD) . 

PHALAROPUS LOBATUS Red-necked Phalarope 

Two, L. Nakuru, 2 Dec 71 (DAT); 1, L. Magadi, 31 Aug 74 (GCB,CFM) ; a few, 

L. Masek, T, Jan-Feb 75 (DAT); 1 near Kendu Bay, L. Victoria, 30 Sep 75 (RB) . 


INLAND RECORDS: L. Magadi: 2 (1 ringed), 6 Oct 73 (DJP); 1, 27 Sep 75 (DJP); 

1, 4 Oct 75, and two small groups, 5 Oct 75 (GCB,WPHD,DKR) ; 1 ringed, 12 Oct 

75 and 1 seen, 23 Nov 75 (GCB,WPHD,DJP) . L. Nakuru: 1, 31 Aug 69 (GCB); 

1, 4 Oct 70 (GCB,CFM); up to 4, 16 Sep-14 Oct 72 (DJP, GCB). 


INLAND RECORDS: L. Magadi: a few, 27 Aug-14 Oct 72, when 5 ringed (DJP, GCB, 

WPHD) ; an adult ringed 30 Aug 75 (DJP). L. Nakuru: 1, 4 Oct 70 (GCB); up to 

4, 24 Sep-4 Nov 72 (GCB, DJP) . 1, Athi R. pools, 4 Oct 75 (BSM) . 


One caught and ringed at Naivasha, 2 Feb 74 (DJP, WPHD) . The wing and tail 
feathers being fairly recently moulted this was presumed to be an adult bird. 
It was in first winter body plumage with a few breeding feathers just beginning 
to emerge in the upperparts. Spring tail moult was just starting with the new 
centre feathers growing. Measurements were: wing 94 mm, bill 18 mm, tarsus 
21^ ram, centre toe (including claw) 24 mm. The weight was 20.4 g. Plumage 
details: feathers of upperparts and crown with large dark brown centres and 
broad grey-brown edges, giving a strongly mottled appearance. A pale super- 
ciliiim was noticeable. Whitish below, with a few indistinct streaks on the 
breast. The wing pattern differed from that of a Little Stint C. minuta 
in that although a short wing bar was formed by the prominent white tips to 
the greater coverts, there was practically no white at the tips of the primary 

Recent taLaeaToz%o rexx>ra8 43 

coverts. The outer three peiirs of tail feathers were mainly grey, with white 
confined to the inner edges. The legs were green. In general appearemce, 
with its relatively long neck, small head, mottled upper parts and large feet, 
the bird suggested a diminutive Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola. This is the 
third East African record of a species which normally winters in Asia. 


Regularly seen and caught at Naivasha eutid L. Nakuru (northern shore), mid Sept - 

early May 72-75, max. 4 (DJP,GCB,BSM,PH) ; 1, Naivasha 16 Feb 76 (ADF-W) . 

3, L. Bogoria {1 ringed), 26/27 Oct 73 (DJP) ; 1, L. Magadi 2 Nov 75 (DKR) ; 

at least 1, Amboseli 25 Sep 75 (KHV) . 


L. Naivasha, 1, 3 Dec 71 and 1, 27 Feb 73' (DAT) ; 1, L. Jipe, 17 Nov 74 (DAT). 

1, Smart's Swamp, Limuru, 22 May 76 (BSM) . 


Naivasha, 1, 26 Jan 70 and another, 18 Jan 71 (DAT) . 

LIMICOLA FALCINELLUS Broad-billed Sandpiper 

In addition to P.L. Britton's records {EANHS Bulletin 1976: 57) DJP gives the 
following Sabaki mouth sightings: 1, 13 Aug 75 j 3, 14 Sep 75; 32, 16 Feb 76. 
A worn, first winter bird was caught and ringed at L. Nakxiru, 3 Jan 75, weight 
31 g, wing 109 mm (DJP,WPHD) . 

LIMOSA LAPPONICA Bar- tailed Godwit 

There are a nvraiber of recent records of up to 5 birds at Mida, Aug-Apr. 

In addition, one was seen at Watamu, 13 Sep 75 (DJP) . Inland, 2-3, L. Neikuru, 

27 Sep 69 (DAT) . 

LIMOSA LIMOSA Black- tailed Godwit 

Nakuru: 3, 11 and 18 Sep 71 and 1 (ringed), 26 Mar 72 (DJP). 1, Serengeti, T, 

17 Sep 68 (DAT); 1, L. Paradise, Marsabit, 10 Feb 76 (ADF-W); 1, Naivasha, 

16 Feb 76 (ADF-W); 1, Thika oxidation pools, 19 Jan 75 (CFM,BSM) . 

Records from L. Turkana, where it has recently been foxand to occur regularly 

(Hopson & Hopson 1975, and other unpublished reports) are omitted here. 


INLAND RECORDS: L. Nakuru, 1, 4 Jan 69; 2, 5 Apr 69; 2, 19 Apr 69; 1, 11 May 69; 

1, 31 Aug 69; 1, 9 Nov 69; L. Magadi, 1, 22 Feb 76; 1, 7/8 Mar 76 (all GCB) . 


Naivasha, 1, 1 May 69 (GCB). Rare inland away from Lakes Turkana and Victoria. 


Nairobi N.P.: 4, 31 Dec 72 (JG) ; c. lO, 2 Oct 74 (HB) . L. Magadi: up to 3 between 
29 Nov 72 and 30 Apr 73 (DJP); singles, 17 Nov 73 and 23 Feb 74 (DJP); 1 ringed 
23 Mar 75 (GCB); singles, 21 Feb, 28 Feb and 6 Mar 76 (DJP, GCB); 12 together 
on small pool west of the Lake, 4 Mar 73 (DJP,WPHD) . L. Nakuru: singles on 
29 Jan 72, 1 Jan 74 and 22/23 Dec 75 (DJP). Smart's Swamp, Limuru, 1, 17 Jan 76 
(BSM) . Athi R. oxidation pools, 1, 6 Mar 76 (BSM) . Tsavo East: 9 records, 
mostly from Aruba, max. 8 birds, 4 Dec - 17 Mar 76 (PL) . Ngorongoro, T, annual 
Jan-Mar 70-74 (DAT). 1, 25 Sep 75, Amboseli (KHV). 

TRINGA TEREK Terek Sandpiper 

INLAND RECORDS: L. Nakuru: 1, 5 Sep, 26 Sep and 4 Oct 70; 1, 11 and 18 Sep 71 
(GCB,PLB,DJP) . L. Magadi: 1, 6 Oct 72 (DJP); 1, 19 Oct 73 (DJP); 1, 16 Nov 75 
(DKR). L. Lygarja, T, 1, 20 and 29 Oct 71 (DAT). 1, Samburu, 20 Sep and 6 Nov 
74 (DAT) . 1, L. Jipe, 17 Nov 74 (DAT) . 


Mida Creek: 1, 10 Mar 73 (DAT); 4, 14 Sep 75; 6, 17 Feb 76 (all DJP). L. Magadi: 
1, 27 Sep 75 (DJP); 1, 21 Feb 76; 2,29 Feb 76; 1, 6 Mar 76; 1, 1 May 76 (DJP, GCB, 
WPHD) . L. Bogoria, 1, 9Feb 74 (DJP); 1, Nakuru, 18 Sep 75 (KHV); 1, Ngorongoro, 
T, 17 Oct 68 (DAT) . 

44 Short oomrnmioations 




A.D. Forbes-Watson 

On 5 April 1966, when travelling along the road near Karen, Nairobi, 1700 m 
a.s.l., I saw a Black-shouldered Kite struck and killed by a car. It is 
preserved in the National Museum in Nairobi (male, No. 20029) . 

Before being killed it had just tak^.n off from flat grassland c.60m from 
the road, emd was evidently trying %^ery hard to gain altitude but was apparentl 
unable to do so, Wnen struck it had been in level flight at c,4.5 m for some 
time, and I feel sure tliat it could fly no higher. The bird was carrying a 
dead rodent, subsequently identified by A. Duf f-MacKay, National Museum, Nairot 
as a female Swainp Rat Obomys ?thomasi. The rat's weight of 154 g was evidently 
hindering the predator, whose weight was 220 g? the bird was 'fairly fat*. 
Part of the rat had been eaten and was subsequently removed from the kite's 
stomach - these remains weighed c, 10 g , so the bird was carrying at least 164 g 
or a.QO per cent, of its 210 g . In view of the bird's inability to do more the 
sustain level, flight, it seems likely that this represents the maximum weight i 
could carry, and is worth recording because of the lack of reliable records of 
bird of prey carrying power. 

Received 15 February 1977, 

Clive F. Mann 

Backhurst, Britton & Mann (1973) could find no definite records of this species 
for Kenya, and none had come to light by the time the MS of Mann (1976) had bee 
submitted for publication. There are, however, records from Tanzania in the 
first mentioned paper. 

This very scarce and restricted species breeds in the Mediterranean and on 
the northwest coast of Africa. The majority of the birds apparently migrate tc 
Somalia, Madagascar and Reunion (Vaurie 1965) . The Somali records refer to the 
northern part of the country where it is probably only a passage migrant. It i 
also recorded from Eritrea (Urban & Brown 1971) . 

In a recent conversation with Mr Q. Evans of Llanelli, Wales, I discovered 
that Sunmers (1974) mentioned an injured bird that was given him by the late 
L.S.B. Leakey. The bird recovered and was trained to the fist, taken eventual] 
to Britain, and was last seen heading out over the English Channel. I wrote tc 
Mr Summers who very kindly and promptly provided me with the following inform- 
ation: the bird, an adult female, was found near Karen, Nairobi, in November 
(?12th) 1951. Its identity was s\jbsequently confirmed by Derek Goodwin at the 
British Museum. Mr S-unmers told me that a few months after receiving this birc 
he was flying it near a flock of migratory falcons at Eldoret, when another 
Eleonora's Falcon appeared and mobbed his own. 

short oonmun-ioations 45 


BACKHURST, G.C., BRITTON, P.L. & MANN, C.F. 1973. Ilie less common Palaearctic 
migrant birds of Kenya and Tanzania. Journal of the East Africa Natural 
History Society & National Museum 140: 1-38. 

MANN, C.F. 1976. Some recent changes in our knowledge of bird distribution in 
East Africa, ibidem 157: 1-24. 

SUMMERS, G. 1974. 0iere vultures fly, London: Collins. 

URBAN, E.K. & BROWN, L.H. 1971. A checklist of the birds of Ethiopia. Addis 
Ababa: Haile Sellasie I University Press. 

VAURIE, c. 1965. The birds of the Palearctic fauna^ a systematic reference. 
Non Fasseri formes . London: Witherby. 

Clive F. Mann J 123 Hartswood Road, London W12 9NG^ England. 
Received 3 May 1977. 

John S.S. Beesley 

Reynolds (1977) points out that Mann (1976) erred in missing published records 
of this species in Tanzania. Vesey-Fitzgerald and I (1960) described this 
bird as resident in the Rukwa Valley, found in any month in varying n\mibers. 
It has also been seen in the dry season on the Ufipa Plateau (southwest Tan- 
zania) , and I have seen one at Ngare Nanyuki, north of Mt Meru, on 27 December 


MANN, C.F. 1976. Some recent changes in our knowledge of bird distribution in 
East Africa. Journal of the East Africa Natural History Society & National 
Museum 157: 1-24. 

REYNOLDS, J.F. 1977. Wattled Plovers Vanellus senegallus in Tanzania. 
Scopus 1: 22-23. 

VESEY-FITZGERALD, D. & BEESLEY, J. S.S. 1960. An annotated list of the birds of 
the Rukwa Valley. Tanganyika Notes & Records 54: 91-110. 

John S.S. Beesley i Agricultural Research Station, Private Bag 33, 
Gaborone, Botswana. 

Received 5 April 1977. 

D.J. Pearson 

Whilst based at the Fishing Lodge, Ferguson's Gulf, Lake Turkana, from 2 3-28 
December 1976, I was able to record five species of Palaearctic gull. Some 
400-500 Black -headed Gulls L. ridibundus were present each day. These were 
best seen early in the morning when they gathered in a single flock, or in 
smaller parties, at fish remains along the spit shore. About 80 per cent, of 
these birds were adults, and most of the rest in their second year. All were 
in non-breeding plumage, with a dark mark behind the eye, a dusky tipped red 
bill and red legs. 


Short aommunioations 

Accompanying the Black -headed flock, and picked out on several occasions o 
each of the three days 25, 26 and 27 Decen±)er, were two Slender-billed Gulls 
Lavus geneiy an adult and a second year bird, both readily distinguishable 
at ranges up to 70m. The adult bird had a completely white head. The bill 
was orccnge-TQdi without a dark tip, markedly larger than that of the average 
Black-headed Gull. The legs were also orange-red. The bird was the same 
size as the Black -headeds, with identical pale grey upperparts and the same 
wing pattern. The swimming stance was distinctive, however, with the neck and 
head tipped slightly forward, and the bill held below the horizontal (Fig. la) . 

Fig. 1 

The neck appeared longer than in the Black -headeds (Fig. lb) , with a thicker 
base. In flight, this thickness of the base of the neck gave a 'deep chested' 
appearance and produced a bulge, breaking the line of head and neck ( 
which was not seen in the Black -headeds. At ranges of 20m and less the iris 
was seen to be pale yellow. The sub-adult Slender-billed Gull was identical 
to the adult in stance, shape and size; it also had a yellow eye and lacked 
any dark head mark. It had an orange-yellow bill and orange legs, and, like 
sub-adult Black-headeds, a brown-tipped tail and brown-tipped greater coverts 
forming a bar on the upper wing. A distant photograph obtained of the adult 
bird does en^hasize the long neck, the all white head, the swimming stance 
and the bill size and colour. 

Two species of large gull were also noteworthy. An adult Herring Gull 
Lotus argentatus^ of the dark, yellow-legged Siberian race heuglini was seen 
and photographed in company with Lesser Black-backed Gulls L, fuscus in the 
spit area between 24 and 26 December. The upperparts were slaty grey, not 
black, and the bird was marginally larger than the Lesser Black-backs. Finall 
three sub-adult Great Black-headed Gulls L. iahthyaetus were located on 
26 December on a sand bar off the end of the spit, where a single bird was 
also found next day. About half the size again of accompanying Lesser Black- 
backs, these birds were pale grey above, with some brownish markings in the 
wing coverts, dark primaries and deurk tipped ted. Is; they had very heavy dark 
tipped pinkish bills. 

Short eommmicationa 47 

Herring Gulls have been recorded with regiilarity on the Kenya coast in 
recent years (Britton 1974, Britton & Britton 1976) , but as far as I am aware 
there is no previous record fran Lake Turkana? certainly none is listed by 
Hopson & Hopson (1975) . Great Black -headed Gulls have been recorded from 
Lake Victoria (Mann 1971, Pearson 1971) and the coast (Britton & Duffus 1974, 
Britton & Britton 1976) . There is one previous record from Lake Turkana 
(Hopson & Hopson 1975), but the occurrence of three birds there together is 
of interest, especially in view of the increased frequency with which the 
species has been sighted recently in Ethiopia (Ash & Ashford in press) . 

A full description of the Slender-billed Gulls is given above in view of 
the confusion which arose in 1971-72 as to the identity of the small Palae- 
arctic g\iLls then appearing in numbers in 'East Africa for the first time on 
record. This author (see Pecurson 1972) and other observers then suspected 
that scxne of these birds were Slender-billed. However, it sxabsequently 
became clear that practically all the 1971-72 birds, and those which appeared 
on the coast and the rift valley lakes in later seasons, were Black -headed 
(see Britton & Brown 1974, Britton 1976). Watson (1971) reported a Slender- 
billed Gull from Tanzania in March 1971, but this record has been questioned 
by Oreel (1975) . I would agree with Britton (1976) that at the time he wrote 
there was no completely satisfactory record of the occurrence of the Slender- 
billed Gull in East Africa. 


ASH, J.S. & ASHFORD, O. in press. Lcams iohthyaetus and Phalaropus lobatus 
inland in Ethiopia. Journal of the East Africa Natural History Society 
and National Museum. 

BRITTCN, H.A. & BRITTON, P.L. 1976. Records section (Birds). EANES Bulletin 
1976: 52-61. 

P.L. 1974. Broad-billed San<^ipers and Herring Gulls wintering on 

the north Kenya coast, ibidem 1974: 112-113. 

1976. Letter to the Editor: The identity of small Palaearctic 

gulls in East Africa, ibidem 1976: 37-38. 

4 DUFFUS, W.P.H. 1974. Great Black-headed Gull at Malindi. 

ibidem 1974: 51-52. 

& BROWN, L.H. 1974. Tlie Status and breeding behaviour of East 

African Lari . Ostrich 45: 63-82. 

HOPSON, A.J. & HOPSON, J. 1975. Preliminary notes on the birds of the Lake 
Turkana area. Cyclostyled, Kitale. 

MAIM, C.F. 1971. Distributional notes on some Uganda birds. Bulletin of the 
British Ornithologists' Club 91: 111-113. 

OREEL, G.J. 1975. On the aledged occurrence of the Slender-billed Gull Larus 
genei in Tanzania, ibidem 95: 175-176. 

PEARSON, D.J. 1971. The occurrence of a Great Black-headed Gull Larus ichthy- 
aetus in Uganda, ibidem 91: 171-172. 

1972. Letter to the Editor- EAMS Bulletin 1972: 67-68. 

HATSGN, G.E. 1971. Slender-billed Gull Larus genei at Lake Manyara, Tanzania. 
Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 91: 167. 

Received 11 May 1977. 

48 Short oommmioations 



P.L. Britton 

The Sandwich Tern is a rare bird on the east coast of Africa north of Natal, 
and there are only three previous records from East Africa, two of them from 
Kenya (see Britton 1974) . Further records of adults in winter pl\amage from 
three localities north of Mombasa between August 1976 and February 1977 are of 
considerable interest. All were seen at close range in company with Lesser 
Crested Terns 5. bengalensis. The distinctive bill colouration was noted in a! 

Sabaki River mouth: 3 on 12 August, P.L.B. & H.A. Britton; 

4 on 3-4 September, H. Pelchen {in litt .) . 

Ras Ngomeni: 1 on 27 September, Dr J.S. Ash {in litt,). 

Ras Iwetine: 1 on 15 February, P.L.B, & H.A.B. 


BRITTON, P.L. 1974, Sandwich Tern on the Kenya coast. EAMS Bulletin 
1974: 30-31. 

Received 9 April 1977, 


P.L. Britton & H.A. Britton 

A Sanderling in full breeding plumage at Ras Iwetine, Nyali Beach, on 6 July 

1976 is noteworthy in the absence of previous records of partially or complete- 
ly moulted birds (see Britton & Britton" 1976) . It had a broken leg, and a limj 
ing bird at the same site on 5 August 1976, partially moulted out of breeding 
plumage, was probably the same individual. This species over-summers regularl; 
in scores or hundreds on the Kenya coast, but all over-summering birds of this 
and other Palaearctic wader species appear to be immature, retaining sub-adult 
or winter plumage. Adults of other common species, like the Grey Plover 
Pluvialis squatarola and Curlew Sandpiper C. ferruginea^ commonly moult into 
partial or complete breeding plumage in April or May each year, prior to depar- 
ure for their Arctic breeding grounds. Jackson (1938) mentions Sanderlings 
collected on Manda Island (250 km north of Ras Iwetine) in breeding dress in 
April, and some examined closely by D.J. Pearson {in litt.) at Watamu in April 

1977 showed traces of rufous amongst the feathers of the V5>perparts and crown. 
Both sexes have active roles in courtship behaviour, which may begin within a 
few days of their arrival on the breeding grounds (Parmalee & Payne 1973) , so 
that pre-nuptial moult of Kenyan birds is likely to take place on passage. 

The injxary sustained by this bird is important in evaluating the record. 
Save for this leg injury it would presumably have migrated northwards, moult- 
ing en route. The record suggests that pre-nuptial moult is part of a well 
synchronised endogenous rhythm, independent of parochial stimuli, and that 
adult birds delayed by injury moult to nuptial dress irrespective of their 
location . 


We would like to thank Dr D.J. Pearson for his comments on the first draft. 

Short oomnunioationa 49 

BRITTON, H.A. & BRITTCN, P.L. 1976. Records Section (Birds) 
EAMS Bulletin 1976: 52-61. 

PARMALEE, D.F. & PAYNE, R.B. 1973. On multiple broods and the breeding 
strategy of arctic Sanderlings. Ibis 115: 218-226. 

Received 18 March 1977. 

Margaret Carswelt 

On 27 November 1975 a Black-tailed Godwit was seen at Mabamba Swamp on the west 
side of Entebbe peninsula (32**20'E., 00°04'N.). The bird was approached 
closely and seen well with binoculars, both standing and in flight, and the 
following field notes were made: 

Large, compared to the other waders present; very long straight bill, dark 
in coloxir, reddish at the base; legs blackish grey; upperpeurts fairly pale 
greyish buff; below paler off-white. In flight: white upper tcdl coverts and 
upper part of the ted.1, the white not going up the back; fairly broad black 
band near the end of the tail; axillaries white; white wing bar. 

Mann (1976) states that the Black-tcdled Godwit is recorded, but with no 
details, from Ruwenzori National Peurk (formerly Queen Elizabeth National Park) 
and from Kaberega National Park (formerly Murchison Falls National Park) . 

The present record has appeared in the Uganda Society Bird Newsletter No. 57 
of January 1976. 

MANN, C.F. 1976. Sane recent changes in o\ir knowledge of bird distribution 
in East Africa. Journal of the East Africa Natural History Society & 
National Museum 157: 1-24. 

Dr Margaret Carswellj Department of Surgery j Box 70 SI, Kampala, Uganda. 
Received 16 April 1977. 


B,S. Meadows 

Backhurst, Britton & Mann (1973) described the Black-tailed Godwit as a regular 
visitor in very anall nvonbers to inleuid loceilities in Kenya and Temzemia; the 
largest party recorded was a flock of 15-20 birds at Sxjguta Naibor (0®40'N. , 
36*37 '£.). There is caily one definitive record for Uganda (Cars%#ell 1977). 

In the northern winter of 1976/77, Black -t2d.led Godwits %*ere present 
continuously from November to Mar<^ at Lake Naivasha in hitherto unprecedented 
nuBobers for a locality south of the eqviator. Monthly counts, which I made in 
the company of T. Kallqvist, along a tremsect of the northern beach of Crescent 
Island (all at midday) are as follows: date of visit in brackets : 
August (8), O; September (29), O; October no count; November (30), 5; 
December (30) , 48; January (24), 56; February (16), 15; March (21), 2; April (28), 
no godwits seen. 

50 Short oammmioations 

The party of 56 birds on 24 January was accoinpanied by one Bar-tailed 
Godwit Limosa lapponica and three Whimbrel Nimenius phaeopuSj both scarce 

Until April 1977 the lake level was constantly falling, and during the 
period when the Black -tailed Godwits were resident there was a wide escpanse of 
vegetation-free mud, which conteiined Icurge patches of decaying Sdlvinia^ 
between the shore and the open water. The godwits were normally seen resting 
in shallow lake-water. 


BACKHURST, G.C., BRITTON, P.L. & MANN, C.F. 1973. The less common Palaearctic 
migrant birds of Kenya and Tanzania. Journal of the East Africa Natural 
History Society & National Museum 140: 1-38. 

CARSWELL, M. 1977. The Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa in Uganda. Scopus 1: 
Received 4 May 1977. 

Jennifer P.M. Home & Lester L. Short 

While camped along the Barsaloi River at Barsaloi for the pxirpose of studying 
woodpeckers and barbets, we were visited daily at the campsite by a spotted- 
winged dove that seemed to be a Turtle Dove. The bird was rather tame, and fee 
close to the camp whereas Emerald-spotted Wood-Doves Turtur ohaloospilos^ commc 
there, kept their distance. The most frequent associates of the Turtle Dove 
were Grey-headed Sparrows Passer griseus^ especially one individual with a 
malformed bill, and White-browed Sparrow Weavers Plocepasser mdhali. The Turtl 
Dove was observed closely (down to 3 m ) whenever we were at camp between 16 and 
19 October 1976, and was photographed with both black and white and colour file 
four black and white prints and eight colour slides were available for comparis 
Some of the photographs are lodged in the Bird Room of the National Museum, 
Nairobi . 

The Turtle Dove is European, western Asian and north African in its breedir 
distribution, wintering south to the Sahel and beyond in the west, reaching 
Gambia, Nigeria, Central Zaire, Sudan and Ethiopia. Its occurrence as a stragg 
in north-central Kenya is thus not unexpected. 

The bird was a rather small Streptopelia with a black and white striped pat 
on each side of the neck, brown back, pinkish throat and breast, and white- 
tipped tail, as well as the characteristic black spotting of the buffy wing 
coverts and tertials of 5. turtur. Of various other conceivable species, onlj 
S, orientalis the Rufous or Eastern Turtle Dove is similar in pattern - the 
bird observed was too small and pale above and below to be orientalis; diagnost 
were its grey, not brownish nape and hindneck, and grey area in front of the ne 
patches {orientalis is brown in these areas). Of the two species, orientalis i 
less likely to have strayed to Kenya from its westernmost range in west-central 
Asia. Racial determination was impossible, of course, but we feel that the bir 
was probably arenioola as it seemed too pale for the nominate race and lacked t 
broad, pale, but bright edgings of the wing feathers of the Saharan hoggara and 
northeastern African isabellina. Instead, the feather edges were brownish buff 
Specimens of these races, and of all Streptopelia species were available in the 
American Museum of Natural History for comparison with the photographs. 

Mrs Jennifer P.M. Home, Box 24622, Nairobi, S Dr Lester L. Short, American 
Museum of Natural History, New York,. New York, U.S.A. 
Received 4 April 1977. 

Short oornnunioationa 51 

John D. Gerhart 

Turner (1977) states that the lovebirds, Agapomis fisohevi and A, personata 
do not actually come into contact in the wild. Forshaw (1973) , appaurently 
following Moreau (1948), says that the Yellow-collared Lovebird A, personata 
"occurs to within 65 km of the remge of Fischer's Lovebird but apparently the 
two do not meet. Moreau suggests that the barrier may be Brachystegia-Iso- 
berVinia woodland which is largely devoid of seeding grasses emd shrubs - the 
food of these parrots." (p. 308). 

On 31 May 1967, I recorded over a dozen of both species in the seune tree at 
Magugu, jtist north of Babati. This is approximately the closest point between 
their ranges as depicted in Forshaw f:op, ait.), just below the Mbulu escarpment. 
John Beesley {-in litt.) reports that he often fo\jnd them together in the region 
from Lake Manyeura to Babati, in Tarahgire National Park, and as far east as 
Ngare Nanyuki, north of Mt Meru. It appears therefore, that there is consider- 
able overlap of these two species. Beesley (1973) also reported seven instances 
of breeding of A. fischeri in Arusha National Park: 3 in February, 2 in April, 
and 2 in July, which Turner seems to have overlooked. 

BEESLEY, J.S.S. 1973. The breeding seasons of birds in the Arusha National 
Park, Tanzania. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists* Club 93: 10-20. 

FORSHAW, J.M. 1973. Parrots of the world. New York: Doubleday. 

MOREAU, R.E. 1948. Aspects of evolution in the parrot genus, Agapomis. 
Ibis 9ds 206-239. 

TURNER, D.A. 1977. Status and distribution of the East African endemic species. 
Scopus 1: 2-11. 

Dr John D. Gerhart, Box 41081, Nairobi. 
Received 5 April 1977. 


D.A. Turner 

On 12 Februeury 1977 near Mudanda Rock in Tsavo East National Park, I observed a 
newly fledged Black and White Cuckoo being fed by an adult female Golden Pipit 
Tmetothylaaus tenellus. 

The young cuckoo, although able to fly reasonably well, had obvioxisly left 
the nest a few days earlier and constantly begged for food; it was diligently 
fed every three or four minutes by one of its foster parents. Throughout the 
10-15 minutes of observation, a second female and one male Golden Pipit were 
seen to be in close attendance, but did not feed the young cuckoo, though they 
may have done so either before or after my observations. 

Whereas the Black emd White Cuckoo has been well studied and documented, 
particularly in southern Africa (Liversidge 1971) , it has only occasionally 
been recorded breeding in East Africa. This observation appears to constitute 
the first record of the Golden Pipit acting as host to any species of cuckoo. 
Generally in Africa, pipits are not selected as hosts, though there have been 

52 Short oonmmioations 

odd instances of Richard's Pipit Anthus novaeseelandiae and Plain-backed Pipit 
A, leuoophrys being used by other cuckoo species (Friedmann 1948) . 


FRIEDMANN, H. 1948. The parast-tio cuokoos of Africa. Washington Academy of 
Sciences Monograph I. 

LIVERSIDGE, R. 1971. The biology of the Jacobin Cuckoo Clamator jacobinus. 
Ostrich Supplement No. 8: 117-137. 

Received 30 March 1977. 

G.R, Cunningham-van Someren 

On the morning of 5 April 1973 a fledgling female Grey Hornbill was found below 
a nest hole, the entrance of which had been resealed by her two siblings. The 
nest, which was in an aluvial cliff at Magadi, Kenya, had originally been 
excavated by Red and Yellow Barbets Trachyphonus erythrocephalus before being 
taken over by the hornbills for use in 1971, 1972 and 1973. 

The fledgling, which was barely able to fly, was captured, taken to Karen 
and given the freedom of a large glassed-in verandah where she lived until 
killed by a cat two years later. Observations made during this period revealed 
a number of interesting hornbill attributes, apparently undescribed previously. 

PELLET REGURGITATION At first the hornbill was given a diet of mealworms and 
grasshoppers, supplemented with fruit. I usually offered food by hand, 
generally giving the bird her first meal at 07.00 hrs. One morning, when she 
was two months old, the bird showed no interest in eating a grasshopper which 
I then pushed into her gullet. This appeared to distress her and was followed 
by ejection of the grasshopper together with a bright red pellet, some 20 nm x 
10mm. After regurgitating the pellet, further grasshoppers were readily 

A search of the verandah revealed a small heap of pellets lying on a high shelf 
used for roosting. Daily observations during the following months showed that 
a pellet was ejected each morning prior to the first meal. Analysis of the 
pellets showed them to consist of hard chitinous insect portions, mostly grass- 
hopper femora. As the bird became older she was gi-«'en far fewer insects and 
pellet production stopped. 

LATERAL SCISSOR- LIKE ACTION OF THE BEAK Few birds, apart from crossbills 
Loxia spp., appear able to displace the maxilla to either side of the midline 
and to use this lateral movement in feeding. I found that the hornbill coiild 
move the tip of the maxilla laterally some 4 - 5 ran across the mcindible. When 
dealing with a large grasshopper she held the insect head first, and then ad- 
justed its position until she could snip through the femur of first one hind 
leg and then its opposite nximber, with lateral scissor-like movements of the 
extreme tip of the beak. 

PROTECTION OF THE EYES DURING FEEDING Any bird feeding on large grasshoppers 
such as OmithacriSj is exposed to the risk of having its eyes seriously 
damaged by threshing movements of the hind legs, whose femora are powerfully 
muscled and whose tibiae bear two rows of sharp spines. Screeing of the eye(s) 
by the nictitating membrane (s) in such circumstances is xisual in many bird 
species. The hornbill was no exception, and regularly protected her eyes in 
this way while 'mandibulating' large grasshoppers into position for cutting 
off the hind legs. 

Short communioatione 


adjacent to the alula eind over the carpal joint has been called the 'tetrices 
minores and marginales of the manus* (Wray 1887), and also the 'under marginal 
and minor primary coverts of the hand' (Lucas & Stettenheim 1972) . In my Grey 



Fig. 1 

Hombill this tract consisted of a double row of 36 small white feathers, each 
cd)out 20 mm long. Usually these feathers were held with their apices pointing 
downwards in an almost hidden position xander the wing margin, but when 'bored' , 
fxilly fed, or apparently cold, the hornbill was repeatedly seen to spread these 
feathers horizontally (Fig.l) until they almost met across the breast, while she 
sat in a hunched position with head lowered into and between the shoulders. I 
think that these movements indicate an interesting and complicated musculature 
which would repay investigation. An alternative suggestion that the wings were 
deformed or the alulae damaged was not supported by a close examination of the 
wings (one still preserved) after the bird's death. 


I theuik R. Widmcui for drawing attention to Lucas & Stettenheim' s work. 


LUCAS, A.M. & STETTENHEIM P.R. 1972. Avion anatomy ^ integument Parts I & II. 
United States Department of Agriculture Handbook 362. 

WRAY, R.S. 1887. On some points in the morphology of the wings of birds. 
Proceedings of the Zoological Society 1887. 

Received 29 January 1977. 

54 Short Qomnuniaations 


G.R. Cunningham- van Someren 

Mackworth-Praed & Grant (1957) record the European Wryneck in East Africa only 
from Uganda, presumably referring to the record in Jackson (1938) of one 
obtained at Falabek (= Palabek) , northern Uganda, on 24 February 1913. Britton 
& Harper (1969) caught the first Kenya specimen on 22 February 1969 at Ng'iya, 
western Kenya. The species is not recorded from Tanzania (Backhurst, Britton & 
Mann 1973) . 

The second Kenya record was of a bird seen at Lake Nakxiru on 12 February 
1972 by D.J. Pearson; a bird caught there on 10 April 1972 may have been the 
same individual {EANHS Bulletin 1976: 81). The third for Kenya was seen by 
A.D. Forbes-Watson on 11 February 1976 at Gof Redo, Marsabit {loo . oit , zBl) , 
while the fourth concerns a bird obtained on 19 January 1977 by Robert Kyongo 
at Kyanguli, Kalama, Machakos District; this, the first specimen from Kenya, 
is of the nominate race, and is now in the National Museum, Nairobi, Reg. No. 

In Uganda the species is probably more common - records from the east of 
the coiontry are given by Rolfe & Pearson (1973) and Mann (1976) . White (1965) 
lists both the nominate race and a single J. torquilla tsohusii for Uganda, 
although the occurrence of the latter so far south of its normal Mediterranean 
wintering area (Vaurie 1965, White 1965) must be exceptional. 


BACKHURST, G.C., BRITTON, P.L. & MANN, C.F. 1973. The less common Palaearctic 
migrant birds of Kenya and Tanzania. Journal of the East Africa Natural 
History Society and National Museum 140: 1-38. 

BRITTOJ, P.L. & HARPER, J.F. 1969. Some new distributional records for Kenya. 
Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 89: 162-165. 

MANN, C.F. 1976. The birds of Teso District, Uganda, Journal of the East 
Africa Natural History Society and National Museum. 156: 1-16. 

ROLFE, J.G., & PEARSON, D.J. 1973. Some recent records of Palaearctic migrants 
from eastern Uganda. EANHS Bulletin 1973: 62-66. 

VAURIE, c. 1965. The birds of the Palearctic fauna. Non-Pas seri formes . 
Lon don : Wi the rby . 

Received 15 February 1977. 



As mentioned in the 'Notes for Contributors', the Ornithological Sub-Conanittee 
intends to produce an annual fifth issue of Scopus^ which will consist of the 
East African bird report covering the previous calendar yeeu:. The Sub-Committee 
is also embarking on the production of a checklist of the birds of Kenya, 
Tanzania and Uganda. For both these projects observers' records ctre needed; 
the more you send in the better. We realize that the writing out of pages of 
records is a chore, so we have prepeured the following guidelines: 

Notices 55 

a) Any lists for defined areas are most welcome. These will be kept for 
reference, but records will also be abstracted for the Report and Checklist. 
Annotated lists will, of course, be much more useful than mere lists of 
names, but the latter have value if they cover a short period. Please send 
to D.A. Turner, Box 48019, Nairobi. 

b) Ethiopian region cind oceanic birds: the former, especially, tend to be 
xinder-recorded - we do not weunt just unusual records; dates of arrival and 
departure of intra-African migrants, any extensions of range or unusual 
nxjmbers of more camnon birds are all wanted. Records of all species in the 
following families will be most useful, with as much detail as possible 
please: button quails, rails and crakes, owls, nightjars, honeyguides, 
broadbills, pittas and creepers. Don Txorner and Peter Britton will collate 
these records, but please send them first to Don, at Box 48019, Nairobi. 

All breeding records should be sent as usual to Mrs Hazel Britton, Box 90163, 

c) Palaearctic records will be collected and collated by B.S. Meadows and 
D.K. Richards. Observations on all species dealt with in 'The less common 
Palaearctic migrant birds of Kenya and Tanzania' by Backhurst, Britton and 
Mann (Society Journal No. 140, April 1973) are required, as well as records of 
Little Crake, Great Black-headed Gull and Pallid Swift (not covered by the 
paper but recorded in Ugeinda) , and records of the dozen or so Palaearctic 
species added to the East African list after the paper was published, in 
addition, records are required for the following selected 'common' species: 
White Stork, Steppe Buzzard, Steppe Eagle, all three Palaearctic harriers, 
Caspian Plover; inland records of Grey Plover, Greater and Mongolian Sand 
Plovers, Turnstone, Sanderling, Whimbrel, Curlew and Terek Sandpiper; Lesser 
Black -backed Gull, Eurasian Swift, European Cuckoo, European Nightjar, Great 
Reed Warbler, Marsh Warbler (except S.E. Kenya November-January) , White- 
throat, Blackcap (away from Kenyan highland forest areas) , Barred Warbler, 
Olivaceous Warbler (Tanzania and S. Uganda only). White Wagtail, Red-throated 
Pipit, Red-tailed Shrike (S. Tanzania only). Lesser Grey Shrike (not April 
records), Sprosser (as Marsh Warbler), Nightingale (not S. Kenya), Pied 
Wheatear (Uganda only) and Whinchat (Kenya and Teinzania only) . Records of 
other conmon species are welcome, especially of exceptional numbers, early 
euxd late dates, or from areas where you know the species is not common 1 
Please send all your Palaearctic records to Brian Meadows, Box 30521, 

It would be a great help if you would send all your records covering July- 
December 1976 and the first half of 1977 to the respective recorders as soon 
as possible please. 


Contributors are asked to add their name and address at the foot of the MS; 
names and addresses eire printed in this position except when the author's 
address appeeurs inside the front cover. 

The first sentence of the 'Notes' inside the front cover should read as 
follows : 

Scopus welcomes original contributions in English on all aspects of the 
ornithology of eastern Africa pertinent to Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. 


56 Notices 


For members of the E.A.N.H.S. 

surface mail E4.00 or US $7.00, air mail £5.50 or US $10.00. 

For non-members of the E.A.N.H.S. 

surface mail £5.50 or US $10.00, air mail £7.00 or US $13.00. 

Those wishing to remit by bank transfer, please pay D.A. Turner, Scopus a/c. 
No. 2852601, Barclays International Ltd., Market Branch, Box 30018, Nairobi. 


There were several mistakes in the March Scopus for which I apologise: 

1) Two species accounts were omitted from D.A. Turner's paper 'Status 
and distribution of the East African endemic species'. 

insert on p. 7: 

CISTICOLA HUNTEHI Hunter's Cisticola 

A montane species occurring in most highland areas and alpine moorlands of Kenya 

and northern Tanzania, and in Uganda at Mt Elgon. Common throughout much of its 

range, particularly on the Aberdares, Kinangop and Mt Kenya where it is found up 

to 4000 m . Reaches the Nairobi area at Limuru, with a few pairs resident within 

the City limits in parts of Karen and Kabete. The loud duetting, often by three 

or more individuals, draws attention to its presence. The species is easily 

separated from other highland cisticolas by its dark mottled back and dull 

russet head, which does not contrast sharply with the back. 

Not recorded from either the Pares or Usambaras in north-eastern Tanzania, 
while below 2400 m on Mt Elgon it is replaced by Chxabb's Cisticola C. chubbi 
(Britton & Sugg 1973), with which it forms a superspecies . 

insert on p. 9-. 


A little known species confined to the Nguru, Ukaguru and Uvidunda mountains of 

east central Tanzania; it was originally described as a race of the Eastern 

Double-collared Sunbird N. mediocris. It appears to be intermediate in plumage 

between loveridgei and mediocris; indeed. Hall & Moreau (1970) consider that it 

could be conspecific with either of these two species. 

2) p. 8: the English name of Apalis karamojae is Karamoja Apalis. 

3) p. 24: 4th line from bottom, read 1973 for 1963. 


cd , l^cd^Kj 


P.L. BRITTON. Status and identification of East African terns .29 

P.C. LACK. The status of Friedmann's Bush-Lark Mirafra pulpa 34 

Some recent records of Palaearctic birds in Kenya and Tanzania 39 

Short communications 

A.D. FORBES-WATSON. Maximum carrying potential of a Black-shouldered 

Kite Elanus aaeruleus 44 

CLIVE F, MANN. First record of Eleonora's Falcon Falco eleonovae 

in Kenya .44 

JOHN S.S. BEESLEY. Wattled Plover Vonellus senegallus in Tanzania .... 45 

D.J. PEARSON. Slender-billed Gulls Larus genei and other Palaearctic 

gulls at Lake Turkana, December 1976 . 45 

P.L. BRITTON. Further records of the Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 

on the north Kenya coast 48 

P.L. BRITTON & H.A. BRITTON. An injured Sanderling Calidris alha in 

breeding plumage at Mombasa . ..... 48 

MARGARET CARSWELL. The Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa in Uganda ... 49 

B.S. MEADOWS. Exceptional nimbers of Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa 

wintering at Lake Naivasha during 1916/11 49 

JENNIFER F.M. HORNE & LESTER L. SHORT. First record of the Turtle Dove 

Streptopelia tuvtuv in Kenya 50 

JOHN D. GERHART. Distribution of Agapovnis species in Tanzania 51 

D.A. TURNER. A new host for the Black and White Cuckoo Clamatov jacohinus 51 

G.R. CUNNINGHAM- van SOMEREN . Some observations on a captive Grey Hornbill 

Tookus nasutus . 52 

G.R. CUNNINGHAM-van SOMEREN. The European Wryneck Jynx torquilla in 

East Africa 54 


Sx±)mission of records for annual bird report . . . 54 

Supplementary note to contributors 55 

Overseas subscription details 56 

Errata & Addenda 56 

Frinted in Kenya by BEEZEE, Box 20 6 52 ^ Nairobi 



A quarterly ornithological publication 

of the East Africa Natural History Society 

Volume 1 (3): September 1977 15 shillings 


Scopus is pijblished five times a year by the East Africa Natxiral History Society's 
Ornithological Sv±)-Coinmittee. Si±»scriptions are payable to the Hon. Treasurer 
(and Secretary) , D.A. Turner, Scopus a/c. Box 48019/ Nairobi, Kenya, at the 
following annual rates: 

1) To members of the E.A.N.H.S., Kenya shillings 50/- 

2) To all others, Kenya shillings 75/- 

All material for Scopus ^ including papers, short commioni cat ions, and records of 
birds, should be sent to the Chairman of the Ornithological Sub-Committee, 
Dr D.J. Pearson, Department of Biochemistry, Box 30197, Nairobi. 

Other members of the Sub-Committee are: G.C. Backhurst (Editor of Scopus), 
Box 29003, Nairobi; P.L. & Mrs H.A. Britton, Box 90163, Mombasa; G.R. Cunningham- 
van Someren, Box 40658, Nairobi; Dr A.W. Diamond, Department of Zoology, 
Box 30197, Nairobi; A.D. Forbes-Watson, Box 49771, Nairobi; B.S. Meadows., 
Box 30521, Nairobi; J.F. Reynolds, Box 40584, Nairobi; D.K. Richards, Box 41951, 
Nairobi . 


Scopus welcomes original contributions in English on all aspects of East African 
ornithology. Contributions will be assessed by the Sx±>-Conimittee and by 
independent referees if necessary. The material published in Scopus will be 
divided into 'papers' and 'short commvonications ' , the latter will be less than 
two Scopus-pages in length. 

Contributions should be typed in doi±)le spacing, on one side of the paper only 
with wide margins all round, and they should be sijbmitted in duplicate. 
Exceptionally, clear hand-written MSS will be considered but these too should be 
sent in duplicate. Both English and scientific names of birds should be given 
when the species is first mentioned, thereafter only one should be used. Normally 
authorities should not be given. 

Illustrations should be on Bristol boeurd or good quality white paper in line, 
i.e. black on white, and should not be larger than 29 x 18 cm. Lettering (in 
black) will be the responsibility of the author and should be done neatly using 
stencils or Letraset; due allowance should be made for reduction to the final 
printed size. Each illustration should be nvimbered (Pig.l, etc.) and provided 
with a.„ legend typed on a sepcirate sheet of paper. Photographs will be considered 
if they are absolutely necessary. 

Tables, which shotald also be numbered, should appear in the typescript and 
need not be on sepeirate sheets of paper, unless they are Icorge. 

Metric units shoxild be used. If non-metric lanits were used in the original 
observation or experiment, the approximate metric equivalent should be given 

in brackets. 

Any references cited should be listed at the end of the contribution following 
the form used in this issue. Names of periodicals should be given in full. 
A number of works, which eire likely to be cited frequently, should not be listed 
under references; the name of the author (s) and date(s) of publication shoxold be 
given in the text in the normal way. A list of the works concerned is given 
inside the back cover. 

Observers are asked to send in records of birds for inclusion in the annual 
East African bird report issue. Records which appear in the National Museums of 
Kenya Department of Ornithology Newsletter will be reviewed for the annual report 
but, in the case of rare birds or birds showing an extension of range, full 
details supporting the record should be submitted, whether the record is sent to 
the Newsletter or Scopus - this will save correspondence later on. 

All contributions should be sent to Dr D.J. Pearson, Department of 
Biochemistry, Box 30197, Nairobi. 

Scopus 1 (3) August 1977 



J,F. Reynolds 


It is axiomatic that if a bird is to maintain a constant body temperature, 
total heat gain must equal total heat loss. The basic thermal relationships 
involved cem best be understood by applying Newton's law of cooling to a 
bird's body, considered as a simple physical system in which heat is being 
constantly produced at a certain minimum rate. 

The resulting physical model shows that at ambient temperatures below the 
temperature of the body, there will be a thermo-neutral range of ambient 
temperatures (between what are called lower and upper critical temperatures) 
over which a constant body temperature can be maintained, soley by altering 
the insulation of the body, which in turn adjusts the rates of heat loss by 
conduction, convection and radiation. The upper critical temperature is 
defined by King & Farner (1961) as that ambient temperature at which there is 
a zero temperature gradient between the body surface and its surroundings; 
its main significance is that it marks the point where the body starts to 
gain heat from its surroundings and can only maintain a constant temperature 
by evaporative cooling, or by moving to a cooler place. 

Discussion of avian homoiothermy is considerably clarified by regarding a 
bird's body as consisting of a central 'core' (i.e. central nervous system, 
viscera and most of the musculature), surrounded by an outer 'shell' compris- 
ing the feathers, skin and any subcutaneous fat that may be present. The 
boundaries are by no means rigid: for example, subcutaneous fat is extensively 
vascularized and is perhaps best regarded as part of the core (D.J. Pearson, 
pers. comm.). It is only the core whose temperature remains constant within 
about +2°C of the mean (commonly between 40° and 41° C) ; temperatures in various 
parts of the shell are much more variable, some parts often differing little 
from the temperature of the immediate surroundings (King & Farner 1961) . 

The total environmental heat load on an animal is the sum of radiation 
affecting its surface; this is very difficult to measure but a good indication 
of its magnitude can be obtained by measuring ground surface temperatures 
(see Cloudsley-Thompson 1967 for suitable, reasonably easy, methods) , air 
temperatures at an appropriate height above ground (between 5 and 25 cm for 
most birds) and 'black bulb' temperatures (as a measure of the heat load 
represented by direct solar radiation) . Averaging these gives a good indicat- 
ion of the heat load, since relevant air temperatures in the tropics can be 
far lower than the ground surface and black bulb temperatures. Thus Howell & 
Bartholomew (1962) studying temperature regulation in Sooty Terns Sterna 

Scopus 1: 57-68, September 1977 

58 Thermo-regulation 

fuscata nesting on Midway Island, found that in full sun, air temperatures were 
between 29° and 32.5°C while sand temperatures were between 40° and 43° C and 
black bulb temperatures as high as 52° C. Similarly, Finch (1972) showed that 
the surface temperature on the back of a kongoni could reach 53° C when the 
air temperature in semi-arid bush country not far from Nairobi was 30° C. 

Besides regulating their own core temperatures most birds exert almost as 
exact a control over the temperature of their eggs (Baerends 1959) . Deuchar 
(1952) showed that even short exposures of developing chicken eggs to temp- 
eratures above 38.5° C increased the numbers of dead and abnormal embryos. 
Combining the results of such laboratory studies with accurate field data like 
those of Howell & Bartholomew (1962) for Sooty Terns suggests that the 
optimal temperature range for embryonic development is 36° to 37° C and that, 
once the eggs have been laid, avian embryos are rapidly killed when their 
temperatures reach 41° C. In the tropics, exposure to direct solar radiation 
would thus quickly result in a lethal rise in egg temperature; embryos of 
Two-banded Coursers Cwpsorius afrzaanus were killed by 15min exposure to the 
midday sun in the Kalahari (Maclean 1967) . The extreme reluctance of, for 
example, coursers and plovers (Glareolidae and Charadriidae) to leave their 
eggs in the middle of the day is clearly adaptive in this context. Conversely, 
eggs tend to be left unbrooded in the early morning, late afternoon and during 
overcast weather (pers. obs. on the charadriiform birds listed in Appendix 1) 
when air temperatures are generally between 20° and 30° C. 


Tropical birds of open savannah have physiological, anatomical and behavioural 
adaptations for living in hot habitats. These are described with special 
reference to my own observations on birds nesting in Kenya and Tanzania. 

of avoiding a heat load, is practised by many birds of hot, arid habitats. 
Where trees or shrubs providing good shade are few and far between, it is 
often possible to see several species taking advantage of the same tree or 
bush. Examples of species that regularly seek shade in the hottest part of 
the day are: spurfowl Francolinus spp., bustards (Otididae) , thicknees 
Burhznus spp.. Crowned Lapwing Vanellus ooronatuSj Blackhead Plover V. tectus, 
all the East African coursers Cursorius except, possibly, the Cream-coloured 

C. ciLPSorj Black-faced and Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse Pterocles decovatus and 
P. exustuSj Fischer's Sparrow Lark Eremopterix Zeuoopareia and the Yellow- 
bellied Eremomela Eremomela iotevopygialis . 

B. REDUCTION OF METABOLIC RATE By resting quietly in the shade a bird not 
only avoids solar radiation (the most important component of the environmental 
heat load) but also reduces its metabolic rate to a minimum 'normal' level. 
Some species carry this tendency still further and markedly reduce their 
metabolic rate below this normal minimum in response to a high ambient temp- 
erature. It is not yet known how widespread this metabolic adaptation is; 

it has so far been found in at least two birds - the Budgerygah Melopsittacus 
undulatus (Weathers & Schlenbaechler 1976) and the Fairy Tern Gygis alha 
(A.W. Diamond, pers. comm.) - and also in two East African antelopes (Hoppe et 
at. 1975, Taylor 1970) so that it may well be widespread. 

C. EFFECTS OF PLUMAGE 1. Colour The light coloured plumage of many gulls 
and terns (Laridae) and gannets (Sulidae) substantially reduces the effective 
heat load by reflecting much of the solar radiation falling on it. Among 
birds considered here, light plumage is mainly restricted to large species 
that nest, often colonially, in sites inaccessible to mammalian predators - 
familiar exan^les are pelicans Feteaanus spp. , egrets Egretta spp. , flamingos 

Thermo-regulation 59 

Phoeniooptevus spp. , Sacred Ibis Thveskiomis aethiopioa and Egyptian Vulture 
Neophron peronopterus . whether absorption and reflection of solar energy are , 
affected by slight differences in feather structure and colour does not appear ;; 
to have been studied, but, since Finch (1972) has shown that a kongoni reflects I 
20 per cent, more sunlight than an eland simply by having a white tip to each 
hair, it is possible that the lighter patches in the brownish plxomage of many 
ground nesting birds may also be significant in this respect. > 

2. Feather adjustments: A bird's plumage provides insulation by trapping a h* 

layer of still air between the curved ends of the contour feathers and the ;J 

underlying down feathers. Changes in insulation are effected by altering the ; 
lie of the feathers and their positions relative to each other. 

Apart from sandgrouse (Pteroclididae) , raising of the crown and mantle 
feathers is usually the first, and certainly the most widespread, response to 
hot conditions (individual species are listed in Appendix 1) . Maclean (1967) 
has emphasized that this plumage adjustment is quite distinct from cold 
weather fluffing-up. In the typical cold response all the body feathers are ■■ 
slightly raised so that a thicker layer of insulating still air is trapped, , 
and a more spherical body outline with a reduced total surface area produced. j 
Hot weather feather-raising on the other hand ' cracks ' the outer part of the ; 
shell, permitting a freer circulation of air through the plumage close to the 
skin, with consequent conduction of heat away from the bird. This response is 1 
particularly effective in windy conditions: I have seen an incubating Black- .: 
winged Plover Vaneltus melanopterus change its position so as to face away from : 
the breeze whose gusts lifted the mantle feathers and tilted them forwards. • 
I concur with Maclean (1967) and Louw (1972) in interpreting this pliamage 
adjustment as a means of losing heat and not as a way of increasing insulation 
(Howell & Bartholomew 1962) . 

In full sunshine, efficient insulation may be vital in preventing transfer j 
of heat from the dorsal feather surface to the skin. Thus, the female Chest- 
nut-bellied Sandgrouse has a remarkable ability to withstand some eight hours 
exposure to direct sunshine (from about 09.00 hrs until about 17.00 hrs) for 
all except the first day or two of the incubation period (when the incomplete j 
clutch is covered by the male) . The only response I have noted is a little 
gentle panting; insulation must be extremely efficient, and a reduced metabolic 
rate seems a likely possibility in this species. 

D. HEAT LOSS FROM BARE SKIN Whilst ambient temperatures remain below a bird's ' 
skin temperature, heat can be lost to the surroundings by conduction, convect- 
ion and radiation, the last being quantitatively the most important. The 
rate of heat loss will depend on how much blood flows near the bare surface: 
this can be rapidly altered as outlined by Hardy (1972) . 

Many tropical birds have patches of bare skin and/or wattles on their heads 
(some East African examples are listed in Apendix 2) . Apart from a few species 
in which these features are found only in the male, either throughout the 
year (e.g. Knob-billed Goose Sarkidiomis melanota) or only during the breeding 
season (e.g. Wattled Starling Creatophora oinerea) , it seems eminently reason- 
able to suppose that these bare patches can be brought into use as radiators 
by appropriate adjustments in their blood supply. I know of no quantitative 
studies of heat loss from bare skin on the heads of tropical birds , but a 
chicken is able to reduce its heat loss by 12 per cent, merely by tucking its 
head under its scapular feathers (Deighton & Hutchinson 1940) . 

The most important heat-losing surfaces in birds seem to be those of the 
legs and feet - chickens, for example, lose 40-50 per cent, more heat when 
standing than when sitting with their legs covered (Deighton & Hutchinson 1940) . 

60 Thermo-regulation 

Since I have seldom seen non- incubating thicknees, plovers, coursers. Black- 
winged Stilts Himantopus himantopus and Avocets Reourvirostra avosetta feather- 
raising or panting, it seems likely that these long-legged species can lose 
sufficient heat from their legs (and head patches when present) to obviate 
the use of other methods. Cooling would be particularly effective when stand- 
ing about in water as do off-duty Water Thicknees Burhinus vermiculatus. 
White-headed Plovers Vanellus albioeps^ Black-winged Stilts and Avocets. 

Although an incubating bird cannot fully expose its legs, all the relativ- 
ly long-legged species listed above partially expose their legs when brooding 
by letting them lie alongside the body uncovered by belly and flank feathers. 
In really hot conditions, the brooding bird usually crouches over its eggs, 
exposing more of its legs and keeping them, the eggs and the nest in shade. 
This posture allows heat to be radiated from the legs to the shaded air and 
ground. Species that -commonly crouch in this way are the Spotted Thicknee 
Burhinus oapensis and Water Thicknee, the Chestnut-banded Sand Plover Charad- 
vius patlidus, Kittlitz's Sand Plover C. pecuavius. Three-banded Plover 
C. tvioollaris , Blacksmith Plover VaneZtus armatuSj Crowned Lapwing and Black- 
head Plover. It is also usual in coursers which, in addition, often partly 
spread their wings, creating a larger shaded area under the bird and allowing 
radiation from the lower surface of the wings, which are sparsely feathered 
(Cramp & Reynolds 1972, Reynolds 1975). 

E. EVAPORATIVE COOLING As the ambient temperature approaches and passes the 
upper critical temperature, heat loss by evaporative cooling becomes pro- 
gressively more important. Wet bills and legs are evaporative sites in wading 
birds; on land, storks (Ciconidae) actually moisten their legs by discharging 
urine over them (Kahl 1963) . 

Most evaporative cooling takes place from the respiratory system when 
normal breathing is replaced by panting (breathing movements of the thorax and 
abdomen) , sometimes (e.g. in coursers, herons (Ardeidae) and cormorants (Phal- 
acrocoracidae) ) accompanied by rapid pulsations of the floor of the mouth and 
upper part of the throat known as gular fluttering, whose rate may or may not 
be synchronized with the panting rate (Bartholomew, Lasiewski & Crawford 1968, 
Calder & Schmidt-Nielsen 1966, Lasiewski & Snyder 1969) . Gular fluttering has 
not been recorded in passerines (Schmidt-Nielsen 1972) . 

To some extent panting is self defeating as a method of losing heat since 
the extra muscular activity involved itself produces heat. In some birds, 
e.g. comnorants (Lasiewski & Snyder 1963) , breathing rate increases uniformly 
with rising temperature, but in others, e.g. the Ostrich Struthio oametus 
(Louw 1972) there is an abrupt increase from the normal rate to a panting 
rate 10 to 20 times faster (e.g. from 4 breaths per minute to 40 (Louw 1972) 
or 50 (Schmidt-Nielsen et at. 1969) in the Ostrich) . In the pigeon, this 
enhanced rate is close to the resonant frequency of the respiratory system 
and means that maximum ventilation is achieved with minimum expenditure of 
energy (Crawford & Kampe 1971) . 

Experimental data indicate that skin temperature receptors have little or 
no effect on the mid-brain centre that initiates panting (von Saalfeld 1936, 
Randall 1943). It is' difficult to reconcile these findings with field observ- 
ations such as the immediate cessation of panting when the sun is briefly 
obscured by a passing cloud (pers. obs. on coursers, plovers and thicknees) 
and the fact that panting is frequently intermittent at moderate heat loads. 
Schmidt-Nielsen (1972) has pointed out that interspersing panting with normal 
breathing is the simplest way of modulating heat dissipation, when the panting 
rate is determined by the resonant characteristics of the respiratojry system. 

Thermo-regulation 61 

When panting starts, the voliame of air entering the respiratory system 
with each inspiration is reduced by about two thirds (von Saalfeld 1936) , but 
even so, the volume per minute is at least tripled (Salt & Zeuner 1960) . This 
hyperventilation typically results in severe alkalosis (Calder & Schmidt- 
Nielsen 1966, 1968) though it is significant that an Ostrich, the only Old 
World arid zone bird investigated, did not develop alkalosis even after 5 h 
continuous panting in an air temperature of 56° C (Schmidt-Nielsen et at. 1969) . 

Evaporative cooling makes considerable demands on the water balance of 
birds. The total loss is always greater than the production of metabolic 
water (by oxidation of sugars and fats) , the deficit being particularly severe 
for birds weighing less than about 40 g (Bartholomew & Dawson 1953) . Some 
birds (e.g. coursers - pers. obs.) of hot arid habitats apparently never drink, 
and others (e.g. Crowned Lapwing) very seldom y such birds must be able to 
obtain sufficient water from their invertebrate food. Others which feed 
mainly on seeds (e.g. pigeons (Columbidae) , estrildids and some larks (Alaudid- 
ae) are dependent on surface water. 

F. TEMPORARY HYPERTHERMIA Since panting can probably dissipate at most only 
50 per cent, of the heat produced by metabolism (King & Earner 1961) , a rise 
in core temperature is inevitable once the ambient temperature exceeds the 
upper critical temperature, unless the bird moves into cooler surroundings. 

Arid zone mammals are able to tolerate considerable elevations of their 
deep body temperatures provided the brain temperature does not rise also. This 
is achieved by having a 'rete' in which arterial blood going to the brain gives 
up heat to venous blood cooled in the snout (Daniel et at. 1953, Baker & Hay- 
ward 1968, Taylor 1969, 1970). 

A similar relationship between deep body and brain temperatures is likely 
to exist in birds, but few species have been investigated for the presence of 
rete- type circulations in the head. One has been found in an Indian race of 
the Little Swift Apus af finis (Naik & Naik 1964) and another may be present in 
the palatal circulation of nightjars (Caprimulgidae) (Cowles 1967) . 

Various studies (e.g. Dawson 1954) have shown that many birds can tolerate 
a temporary hyperthermia of up to 4" C, but it is not known whether this 
ability is commoner in birds that nest in places exposed to intense solar 
radiation, nor whether such species can tolerate hyperthermia for longer 
periods than birds living in cooler habitats. Particularly for birds nesting 
in hot exposed sites this would be a valuable adaptation with the same bene- 
ficial effects on water economy as has been found in mammals (Schmidt-Nielsen 
1964, 1972). 

Having a nocturnal temperature lower than the diurnal one is also adaptive 
since it increases the time taken for the body to heat up to a dangerous level 
after sunrise. The temperature range involved would depend to a large extent 
on the degree of hyperthermia incurred during the day - published ranges are 
rather small, e.g. 1° C in Sooty Terns (Howell & Bartholomew 1962) and 2.5° C 
in the Red Cardinal Cardinalis oardinalis (Dawson 1958) . 

G. BELLY-SOAKING Belly-soaking is a specialized behaviour pattern that so 
far has been recorded only in charadriiform birds: possibly homologous 
behaviour occurs in sandgrouse where its function (transporting drinking water 
to the chicks) is different. Although recorded in the White-headed Plover 
Vanellus albioeps nearly forty years ago (Serle 1939) , the habit remains 
\indescribed in most general ornithological books, so that few bird watchers 
are aware of it. 

I first saw belly-soaking in White-headed Plovers nesting on exposed sand- 

62 Thermo-regulation 

banks of the Great Ruaha River (Tanzania) during the dry season of 1967 
(Reynolds 1968) . Since then I have recorded the habit in the following species 
when nesting: Chestnut-banded Sand Plover (once only for certain: the habit 
is probably unusual in this species), Kittlitz's Sand Plover (frequently when 
nesting near water-holes, but the species often nests in habitats with no 
surface water) , Three-banded Plover (regularly: no nests found away from the 
vicinity of water) , Blacksmith Plover (sporadically) , Black-winged Stilt and 
Avocet (both fairly regularly though not many differnt pairs watched) . Belly- 
soaking also occurs in the Spur-winged Plover V. spinosus (Crossley 1964) . 
All of these species except Kittlitz ' s Sand Plover normally nest close to 
water as do all the other known belly-soaking species apart from the Indian 
Yellow-wattled Lapwing Vanellus maldbarious (Maclean 1975) . I made a special 
effort to discover whether Water Thicknees, nesting along the Great Ruaha at 
the same time of year as White-headed and Three-banded Plovers, also belly- 
soaked, but never saw them doing so. I have also failed to observe any signs 
of belly-soaking in nesting Pratincoles Glareola pratinoola. 

As the actions of belly-soaking are very similar in all the species 
which practise it, the following description is a generalized one. 

Often a particular pair of birds has a favoured shallow pool or little 
backwater that they use to the exclusion of other apparently suitable places. 
Shelving river banks are avoided, possibly because of the risk of predation 
by large fishes or crocodiles. The usual method for wetting the feathers is 
to walk into the shallows and repeatedly dip the underparts in the water by 
bending the legs. Dips may be momentary or may last for several seconds. 
Very often the bird makes forward runs while keeping its belly feathers 
immersed: these runs are usually short, but a Kittlitz's Sand Plover observed 
on 27 March 1977 near Shombole (Kenya) ran in this manner more than half way 
round a water-hole, some 20m in all. Both dipping, and more prolonged 
immersion, are done more assiduously around midday than earlier or later; at 
this time of day, a White-headed Plover may make up to eleven consecutive 
immersions before going to its eggs, and the Kittlitz's Sand Plover referred 
to above spent about lOmin belly-soaking before going to relieve its mate. 
Once this behaviour has been recognized it can easily be distinguished from 
normal bathing by an absence of the vigorous splashing, fluttering and preen- 
ing that characterize the latter, and, of course, by the subsequent return to 
the nest. In fact, a convenient way of locating breeding pairs of belly- 
soaking species is simply to wait for a bird at the water's edge to soak its 
feathers prior to going to the nest. 

Most of the observers who have discussed belly-soaking (e.g. Crossley 1964, 
Dowsett 1975) consider that its function is to dampen, and hence cool, eggs or 
small chicks. There is no doubt that some birds definitely moisten their eggs; 
the Whale-headed Stork Balaenioeps rex, for example, has been filmed scooping 
up water in its bill and later releasing it over the eggs. Maclean (1975) has 
suggested that embryos of belly-soaking species are less heat tolerant than 
those of related dry country species, though this seems unlikely in view of the 
evidence previously cited (Deucher 1952) . The data of Howell & Bartholomew 
(1962) on Sooty Terns suggest that the temperatures of shaded eggs do not reach 
dangerous values even when adult breeding birds are exposed to intense solar 
radiation. Thus, there seem no good grounds for supposing that the eggs of 
belly-soaking species should need cooling unless disturbance had kept the 
parent (s) away from the nest. Since belly-soaking is a normal feature of 
incubatory behaviour, and is not specially associated with a return to the eggs 
after an enforced absence, I think its primary function is to aid heat loss 
from the adult bird. The two functions are not mutually exclusive and can 

Thermo-regulation 63 

overlap when chicks are made wet as has been recorded in the Wattled Plover 
Vanellus senegattus (Wright 1963) . 

The foot-wetting described in nesting Skimmers Rynchops flavirostris 
(Turner & Gerhart 1971) is apparently a modified method of belly-soaking 
(Dowsett 1975) and presumably has the same role in temperature regulation. 

H. SHARING OF INCUBATION So many birds share inciibation that its role as an 
aid to thermo-regulation in tropical species is easily overlooked. At least 
one species (the Whiskered Tern Sterna hybrida) has been recorded changing- 
over more frequently when nesting in Tanzania than in southern Europe (Fuggles- 
Couchman 1962) . By having regular change-overs, eggs can be kept continuously 
shaded while allowing each parent in turn to cool off by resting, either in 
some small patch of shade (e.g. Spotted Thicknee, coursers and dry-country 
Vanettus spp.) or by standing in water (e.g. Water Thicknee, Avocet and White- 
headed Plover) . Sandgrouse and, probably, nightjars (Caprimulgidae) do not 
exchange duties during the day and male bustards are not known to tend eggs 
or chicks. 

Duty periods for coursers and dry-country vanellid plovers are usually 
between 1*2 and 2h. Very often a change-over is initiated by the duty bird 
calling to its mate. In belly-soaking species the mate then flies to the 
wetting place to soak its feathers immediately prior to relieving the bird on 
dutyy the relieved bird seldom belly-soaks after leaving, but often takes a 
few sips of water. In White-headed Plovers, which change over at roughly 
40 min intervals , the thermo-regulatory value of soaking is shown by about a 
quarter of an hour elapsing before the relief bird starts gentle panting 
(without gular flutter) . Furthermore, this plover (at least along the Great 
Ruaha) does not crouch over its eggs as do dry-country vanellids though it 
does expose its legs. Water Thicknees nesting on the same sandbanks as 
White-headed Plovers started panting (with flutter) and crouching within 3 min 
of taking up duty between 09.45 and 17.00 hrs, and changed over roughly every 
20 min. When, for some reason, a mate does not respond to its partner's call 
for relief, the latter may leave the eggs for a couple of minutes to soak his 
or her feathers. This is particularly common in Black-winged Stilts and 
Avocets whose nests are often very close to, or surrounded by, water. 

I. SOME GENERAL POINTS Although the problem of overheating is particularly 
relevant to charadriiform birds nesting in sites with little or no protection 
from direct svmshine, many other tropical birds face similar problems, either 
for much of the year or when nesting. Thus, various behavioural features 
besides those described can also be correlated, at least in part, with the 
solution of thermo-regulatory problems. Examples are: having eggs partially 
buried at all times (Heuglin's Courser Cursorius cinctus) ; covering the eggs 
with sand when leaving them (Kittlitz's Sand Plover); siting the nest to 
receive maximiom shade from a grass tussock, stone or piece of dead wood 

(Fischer's Sparrow Lark); adding a dome to a cup-shaped ground nest (some 
individual pairs of several Mivafva larks) ; nesting in holes in the ground 

(wheatears Oenanfhe^ bee-eaters Mevo-ps) -, downy chicks keeping in the shade 
provided by a standing or walking parent (Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Kori 
Bustard Otis kori^ Spotted Thicknee, Heuglin's Courser); and spending much of 
the day soaring in cooler air high above the ground (eagles Aquila etc.). 

Many of the thermo-regulatory strategies that I have described are found 
among birds belonging to very different systematic groups. For example, the 
belly-soaking of plovers is paralled by vultures (Aegypiinae) which, near 
midday, bathe and thoroughly soak their feathers and then dry off squatting 
on the ground with their legs exposed and wings spread. 

64 Thermo-regulation 

Finally, it must be remembered that the thermo-regulatory adaptations 
of desert and semi-desert birds must represent a compromise between the need 
to conserve heat during the night, which may be bitterly cold, and the need to 
lose it during the sweltering conditions of daytime. The opposing demands of 
evaporative cooling and water economy have already been mentioned, and the 
'specifications' for reflective and cryptic pliimages are equally conflicting. 


The thermo-regulatory problems facing birds nesting in unshaded sites in hot 
arid or semi-arid habitats are outlined. Adaptations to these problems are 
described with particular reference to East African savannah species. The 
salient points are: 

1 . Direct solar radiation is the main component of the environmental heat 
load. It can be equivalent to an ambient temperature 10 to 15° C above 
the normal core temperature of 41° C. 

2. Except during the early morning, late afternoon and overcast conditions, 
eggs are kept continuously shaded from direct sunshine which, around 
midday, can, in about 15min, cause a lethal rise in temperature. 

3 . Adult birds lose heat by 

a) raising the feathers of the crown and back, allowing air currents 
to pass through the pliomage and conduct heat away from the body. 

b) by radiating heat from bare surfaces , in particular the legs 
and feet. 

c) by evaporative cooling from the respiratory system. This 

i) increases metabolic heat production because of the increased 
activity of the respiratory muscles, though the latter may 
be minimized by panting being carried out at the system's 
resonant frequency. 

ii) causes blood alkalosis in all species investigated except 
the Ostrich. 

iii) puts a strain on the body's water resources. 

4. Some charadriiform birds soak their belly feathers before incubating, to 
facilitate loss of heat from both the bird and the eggs by evaporative 

5. Many species have regular change-overs during incubation, thus allowing 
each parent in turn to cool off by standing either in shade or in water. 


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Thermo-regulation 65 

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Appendix 1 List of species personally observed feather-raising while nesting 

in Tanzania and/or Kenya 

Spotted Thicknee 

Water Thicknee 
*Chestnut-banded Sand Plover 

Kittlitz's Sand Plover 
*Three-banded Plover 

White-headed Plover 

Blacksmith Plover 

Crowned Lapwing 

Long- toed Lapwing 

Senegal Plover 

Black-winged Plover 

Wattled Plover 
* Spur-winged Plover 
♦Blackhead Plover 
*Two-banded Courser 

Violet-tipped Courser 

Heuglin ' s Courser 
♦Cream-coloured Courser 

Temminck ' s Courser 

*Black-winged Stilt 

Gabon Nightjar 

Red-capped Lark 

Fischer's Sparrow Lark 

Short-tailed Lark 

Brimstone Canary 

Black-headed Bush Shrike 

Yellow Flycatcher Warbler 

Burhinus capensis 

B. vermiculatus 
Charadrius palHdus 

C. pecuavius 
C. trioollaris 
Vanellus aVbioeps 
V. armatus 

V. ooronatus 

V. eras sir ostvis 

V. luguhvis 

V. melanoptevus 

V. senegallus 

V. spinosus 

7. tectus 

Cursovius afrioanus 

C. chalcopterus 

C. cinotus 

C. cursor 

C. temmincki-i 

Glareota prat-incola 

H-imantopus himantopus 

Recurvirostra avosetta 

Caprimutgus foss-ti 

Calandrella oinerea 

Eremopterix leuoopareia 

Pseudalaemon fremantlii 

Serinus sulphuratus 

Tohagra senegala 

Chtoropeta natalensis 

Species marked with an asterisk are prone to leave their eggs untended during 
overcast or cool (between 20° and 30° C) conditions. 

Appendix 2 Representative examples of East African birds with areas of un- 
feathered skin and/or wattles on the head and/or neck that could function 

as radiators 

White Pelican 

Yellow-billed Stork 
Marabou Stork 
African Spoonbill 
Spur-winged Goose 
Lappet- faced Vulture 
Harrier Hawk 
Grey Kestrel 

Struth-io oametus 
Peleoanus onoorotalus 
Phalacrocorax carbo 
Ibis ibis 

Leptoptilos crumeniferus 
Platalea alba 
Pleotropterus gambensis 
Aegypius tracheliotus 
Polyboroides radiatus 
Terathopius eoaudatus 
Faloo ardosiaoeus 

68 Thermo-vegulation 

Secretary Bird Sagittarius serpentavius 

Vulturine Guinea Fowl Acvylliym vulturiniim 

Yellow-necked Spur fowl Francolinus leucoscepus 

Wattled Crane Grus oarunculatus 

Red-knobbed Coot Fulica aristata 

Three-banded Plover Charadrius tricollaris 

White-headed Plover Vanellus albioeps 

Speckled Pigeon Coturriba guinea 

Bare-faced Go-away Bird Corythaixoides personata 

Ground Hornbill Buoorvus oafer 

Black Cuckoo-Shrike Campephaga phoenioea 
Straight- crested Helmet Shrike Prionops plumata 

Wattle-eye Flycatcher Platysteira oyanea 

Bare-eyed Thrush Turdus tephronotus 

Red-billed Oxpecker Buphagus erythrorhynohus 

(Received 15 April 1977) 


P.L, Britton & H.A. Britton 

The interesting habit of sunbirds (Nectariniidae) attaching their nests to 
buildings is well known, though it has seldom been documented. It is 
especially prevalent at the Kenya coast. 

Unless stated otherwise, the data incorporated are taken from E.A.N.H.S. 
nest record cards prepared by Mavis Heath, Maia Hemphill or ourselves. 


Mackworth-Praed & Grant (1960) mention the nesting of a Mouse-coloured Sunbird 
Neotarinia veroocii in a deserted hut at Malindi, probably referring to one 
of two clutches taken by C.F. Belcher in May 1943. Two further clutches 
taken near Mombasa lack details of the nest site, but all 1972-1977 records 
refer to nests attached to buildings. Three clutches (producing two broods) 
were laid in a nest hanging from a horizontal wire attached to a mosquito 
net at Watamu in May-July 1976. A pair with two nests attached to a dead 
creeper hanging from the roof of a sitting-room at Malindi reared two broods 
(three clutches) in May-July 1976 and two broods in April-June 1977; and a 
brood had been reared in the adjacent garage in July 1975. Other sites were 
a wire inside a bedroom at Shimoni (twice) , a wire on a verandah at Mtwapa, 
and a creeper tendril in the porch of an office at Tiwi. 

Jackson (1938) mentions three Uganda nests of the Olive Sunbird N. olivacea 
inside or under the eaves of thatched outhouses where the nest was attached to 
a pendant strip of bark rope. Belcher collected a clutch from a nest attached 
to a wire hanging from the roof inside a disused grass hut near Mombasa in 
May 1940. Eight out of nine recent clutches are likely to refer to the same 
pair, nesting in two neighbouring houses at Mtwapa. Eggs were laid on 
2 October 1974, 23 April 1975, 20 June 1975, 17 August 1975, 20 April 1976, 
O. 6 August 1976, 2 October 1976, and in April 1977. All but one were 
successful, incubation period 12-14 days, fledging period 13-17 days. The 
first two nests were attached to a vertical string supporting a frame mos- 
quito net, which was lowered each afternoon and night; and the next three 

Scopus 1: 68-70, September 1977 

Sunbirds nesting inside buildings 69 

clutches were laid in two nests on a ceiling 'mobile' in the adjacent 
children's room. Following this last attempt, which was unsuccessful, a nest 
was built in only two days in the children's bedroom of the neighbouring 
house , attached to a string of a mosquito net; and the next nest was in a 
similar site, but in the previously used house. Finally, in April-May 1977, 
a brood flew from a nest on the mosquito net in the second house, where 
building began in early April, only a few days after an incomplete nest on the 
mosquito net in the first house had been abandoned. If all clutches were laid 
by the same female, they represent exceptional fecundity, as do some of the 
Mouse-coloured Sunbird records. 

A Collared Sunbird Anthreptes collaris nest hanging from a rafter in a 
bedroom at Shimoni in July 1972 is the only record of this association in this 
species, for which there are 68 nest sites described on cards, eight of them 
from the Kenya coast. Jackson (1938) gives no records of this association for 
the Scarlet-chested Sunbird N, senegatensis^ though he described it as a 
confiding bird which appreciates the proximity of habitations. Of 42 nest 
sites described on cards, four are on buildings in northern Tanzania: twice 
on rafters projecting beyond a house wall at Arusha (J.S.S. Beesley) and twice 
on a verandah near Mwanza (D.L. Ebbels) . One of the few breeding records of 
Hunter's Sionbird N. hunteri in East Africa refers to an unsuccessful nest 
attached to an electric flex above the bar at Voi Safari Lodge (Lack 1976) . 
This association is evidently incipient in Amethyst Sunbirds N. amethystina 
at the coast, where five out of six nests were in trees or shrubs (not always 
exotic) alongside buildings at Shimoni. 

Cheke (1976) described the nesting of a Variable Sunbird il/. venusta 
inside a bungalow at Tiwi. He saw only the indistinct female, and was 
apparently unaware that this represents an unlikely extension of known breeding 
range since he makes no mention of plumage details in support of the record. 
It is listed for the Shimba Hills in an anonymous publication available at the 
gate of the Shimba Hills National Reserve; but R.A.M. McVicker (pers. comm.), 
who probably knows the birds of the Shimba Hills better than anybody, taking a 
special interest in the vocalizations of sunbirds , doiobts its occurrence there 
or elsewherp in coastal Kenya south of Lamu. The white-bellied race atbi- 
Ventris is common in acacia at Manda and Lamu, but a search of the definitive 
literature shows that there is no proper evidence of the occurrence of the 
yellow-bellied falkensteini at or near the coast. Despite the fact that Cheke 
{in litt. to Dr J.F. Monk) feels certain of this identification we feel that 
the record is unacceptable on present evidence. 


A number of African species utilize the eaves of buildings as nest sites , often 
as an alternative to a cliff or similar site which may be unavailable in the 
near vicinity. There is, however, no shortage of natural attachment points 
for sunbird nests, suggesting that the explanation of this utilization by 
sunbirds should be looked for in terms of an improved success rate in the 
artificial site. In East Africa, the African Pied Wagtail Motaailla alba 
vidua almost invariably nests in the roof of a building or in a boat or 
motor vehicle (26 out of 28 sites described on cards) . This wagtail has a 
special relationship with man which may perhaps be compared with that of the 
Robin Erithaous rubecula in Britain, and Jackson (1938) considers it "without 
exception the tamest, most confiding and most charming and friendly bird in 
Central Africa". Both species nest in holes, and Lack (1953: 86) points out 
that Robins which select artificial sites are doing nothing odd, in that holes 
provided by man are as good as, but no better than, natural holes. It may 
be significant that both the Robin and the British Pied Wagtail M. a. yarrellii 

70 Sunbirds nesting inside buildings 

use artificial sites only exceptionally (Witherby et dl. 1940) , whereas the 
African Pied Wagtail does so habitually in East Africa. 

In his extensive experience, the late Capt. C.R.S. Pitman (in litt.) found 
that 85 per cent, of nests of the smaller African passerines suffer predation 
by reptiles, small rodents and other non-human predators; and many mor-e nests 
are washed out by heavy rains. Thatched roofs often harbour rodents and 
reptiles but many artificial sites are dry and relatively free of predators. 
The breeding season of the coastal sunbirds discussed is prolonged, with 
records in all months except February-March; but there is an evident peak in 
the wettest months of April-June, which follow the dry, hot months of December- 
March, Laying peaks in May, which is the wettest month, with over 250mm 
recorded in most years, and as much as 1043mm in May 1922. Few eggs or young 
(of all families) which we find in May survive these downpours. 

Sunbirds are attracted to the vicinity of buildings by the planting of 
flowering shrubs, and it is noteworthy that hummingbirds (Trochilidae) have a 
similar habit of nesting in buildings in parts of the New World (P.C. Lack in 
litt. ) . It seems likely that this habit developed primarily as a means of 
escaping heavy rainfall by building nests under a roof outside a building, or 
in its incipient form, merely using a wall for shelter from the prevailing 
wind or wind-blown rain. On the Kenya coast, many cottages to-let and holiday 
homes are empty during the wet off-season months, and there is frequently free 
access for small birds through wire mesh. At times, an empty cottage becomes 
occupied while the bird has eggs or yo\ing so that the bird is forced to 
tolerate the presence of humans or desert the nest. Regular nesting in an 
occupied house probably began as a forced co-existence after such a vacant 
period, but may develop into a highly successful symbiotic relationship when 
the hioman occupants actively protect the nesting birds in return for the 
pleasure derived from their presence. 


CHEKE, R.A. 1976. Notes on a nesting female Variable Sunbird. Bulletin of the 
British Ornithologists' Club 96: 5-8. 

LACK, D. 1953. The life of the Robin. London: Penguin. 

LACK, P.C. 1976. Nesting of Hunter's Sunbird. EAMS Bulletin 1976: 49. 

handbook of British birds. London: Witherby. 

(Received 9 February 1977, additions made 27 June 1977) 


V.L. Brittov 

Weights of birds are used with increasing frequency in studies of bird migrat- 
ion, energetics and ecology. Comparatively few pioblished data are available 
for African species - systematists have used less variable parameters such as 
wing- length. Any recorded variation in the weight of an individual bird is 
likely to result from a complex interaction of several variables, notably 
breeding and moult cycles, migration and the diurnal rhythm associated with 
weight loss at night and feeding activity. Within any wide-ranging species, 
weights are likely to vary both geographically and altitudinally, though the 

Scopus 1: 70-73, September 1977 

Kenya bird weights 71 

few data available for African birds show that the patterns of variation are 
not always predictable or consistent in terms of Bergmann's ecogeographic 
rule (see Britton 1972) . Most of the support for this empirical correlation 
is derived from studies of Palaearctic birds, though there are precedents from 
the tropics, for example weights, wing-lengths and bill-lengths positively 
correlated with altitude and mean annual rainfall in Jamaica (Diamond 1973) . 
However, Salt (1963) preferred the explanation of a species centre, identified 
by the lowest body weight, as the centre of evolutionary origin in his 
important study of clinal variation in body size of western Nearctic birds. 

As a part of routine ringing activities, large numbers of birds have been 
weighed in the Siaya and Kisumu districts of Nyanza Province, straddling the 
equator in western Kenya at 1160-1550 m a.s.l., and in the Coast Province 
north of Mombasa, at or near sea-level at 3-4° S. Only a minority of species 
have been ringed in reasonable numbers in both areas, and the same race is 
involved in only Tohagra senegalay Vvinia sub f lava j Neotarinia bifasciata and 
Lagonosticta senegdla} . Nevertheless, the few species in the systematic list 
which follows show a fairly consistent pattern of variation, with coast birds 
weighing less in all species other than the two Eupleotes. If variation 
follows Bergmann's rule, heavier birds would be expected both at higher 
altitudes and higher latitudes. Predictably, the dominant pattern of variation 
exhibited by these randomly selected species suggests that altitudinal vari- 
ation is more important than geographical variation over this trivial latitude 
difference . 

The small body size of coastal populations is most marked in Cossypha 
heugliniy Neotarinia olivacea and Plooeus cuoullatus^ and might be considered 
predictable from wing-length data (extremes only) in standard works like 
Mackworth-Praed & Grant (1960) ; though the fact that Nyanza C. heuglini are 
51 per cent, heavier, without overlap, could not be predicted from wing- lengths 
of 92-111 against 81-97 (males) and 85-97 against 86-87 mm (females). Extreme 
figures without sample size are always unsatisfactory, whether they are weights 
or wing- lengths, and wing-lengths in such standard works are usually gathered 
from too large an area to be useful. Coastal Eupleotes are predictably large, 
in that coastal E. axillaris has a heavier bill (White 1963) , and wings of 
coastal E, hordeaceus average somewhat longer (Jackson 1938) . 

Overall, the data presented show that weights from geographically distant . 
localities, or from localities at substantially lower or higher altitudes, 
should be used with caution in assessing avian biomass in a particular locality 
or habitat. Variation from locality to locality may well be greater than 
diurnal or other variation at any one locality. 


Coast and Nyanza birds are listed as sets C and N respectively and N, olivaoea 
from Kakamega Forest (close to Nyanza localities at 1700m) are listed as 
set K. Weights are in grams, taken on Pesola spring balances, mainly correct 
to the nearest 0.1 g. The majority of weights were taken during the first 
four hours of daylight, and to compensate for diurnal rhythm the few evening 
weights have been reduced by 5 per cent, (personal data show this to be the 
most appropriate figure, despite the fact that small passerines often lose 
as much as 10 per cent, of evening body weight overnight) . Some species are 
listed by sex (m and f) and all known immatures are excluded. Each set 
includes the number of individuals weighed, followed by range, with mean ± 
standard deviation in parentheses. Only one weight (the first taken) is 
included for each individual. If a level of significance is given, indicating 

^ English names are given in the systematic list. 

72 Kenya hivd weighti 

that the two sets have been compared statistically, it is derived from a 
t-test on the difference of means. Order and nomenclature follow White (1962a, 
1962b, 1963, 1965). 

COLIVS STRIATUS Speckled Mousebird 

C 22, 36.8-52.5 (46.3 ± 4.00) ; N 80, 42-64 (52.4 + 4.9) } P<0.001. 

TCHAGRA AUSTRALIS Brown-headed Bush Shrike 

C 3, 31.2-33.8 (32. 2^1. 4); N 19, 34.5-42 (37.0 ± 1.6); P<0.001. 

TCHAGRA SENEGALA Black-headed Bush Shrike 

C 5, 43.3-50.8 (48.3 ± 3.2) ; N 10, 47.5-53 (49.6 ± 1.9) . 


C 32, 38.8-54 (46.8 ± 3.9); N 7, 49-66 (57.6 ± 5.2); P<0.001. 

COSSYPHA HEUGLINI White-browed Robin Chat 

C 4, 25.4-30.2 (27.7 ± 2.2) ; N 45, 34.5-51 (41.7 +. 4.0) ; P< 0.001. 

PRINIA SUBFLAVA Tawny-flanked Prinia 

C 5, 7.5-8.7 (8.08 ± 0.45); N 31, 7.4-10.8 (9.07 + 0.75); P<0.001. 

CAMAROPTERA BRACHYURA Grey/Green-backed Camaroptera 

C 65, 7.8-10.5 (9.29 ± 0.75); N 74, 9.7-13.0 (11.45 ± 0.85); P<0.001. 


C(m) 11, 6.4-7.6 (6.84 ± 0.38); N (m) 5, 7.5-9.0 (8.30 ± 0.64); P<0.001. 

C(f) 6, 5.8-8.5 (6.73 + 1.01); N(f) 1, 8.0. 


C(m) 26, 7.5-9.9 (8.36 ± 0.56); K (m) 3, 11.0-12.3 (11.5 ± 0.76); P<0.001. 

C(f) 21, 7.0-9.2 (7.83 ± 0.55); K(f) 4, 9.5-10.9 (10.08 ± 0.59); P<0.001. 

NECTARINIA BIFASCIATA Little Purple-banded Sunbird 

C(m) 6, 6.5-7.2 (6.97 ± 0.24); N (m) 12, 6.5-8.1 (7.13 ± 0.58). 

C(f) 3, 6.0-6.5 (6.23 ± 0.25) ; N(f) 8, 6.0-6.5 (6.28 ± 0.18) . 

PLOCEUS OCULARIS Spectacled Weaver 

C(m) 2, 21.4-24.7 (23.1 ± 2.3); N (m) 22, 24.0-28.7 (26.1 + 1.3). 

C(f) 6, 19.5-25.2 (22.9 ± 1.9); N(f) 16, 21.0-26.1 (24.0 + 1.6). 

PLOCEUS CUCULLATUS Black-headed Weaver 

C(m) 3, 36.0-37.5 (36.7 ± 0.8); N (m) 48, 37.5-50 (45.2 ± 2.4); P<0.001. 

C(f) 3, 27.4-29.5 (28.6 ± 1.1); N(f) 62, 32.5-43.5 (36.6 ± 2.5); P<0.001. 

EUPLECTES AXILLARIS Fan- tailed Widow Bird 

C(m) 3, 27.5-30.8 (29.1 + 1.7); N (m) 69, 23.0-29.2 (26.5 ± 1.4); P<0.01. 

C(f) 2,22.0-22.8 (22.4 + 0.6) ; N (f) 84, 18.2-24.9 (20 .9 ± 1 . 5) ; P< . 001 . 

EUPLECTES HORDEACEUS Black-winged Red Bishop 

C(m) 3, 23.5-25.2 (24.1 ± 1.0); N (m) 12, 18.0-22.9 (20.4 + 1.4); P<0.001. 

C(f) 3, 18.2-18.8 (18.5 ± 0.3); N(f) 6, 17.2-19.5 (18.4 + 0.9). 

ESTRILDA BENGALA Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu 

C(m) 13, 7.8-9.5 (9.18 + 0.51); N (m) 12, 9.2-11.0 (10.16 ± 0.66); P<0.001. 

C(f) 3, 8.1-9.1 (8.53 + 0.51); N(f) 13, 9.0-11.5 (10.35 ± 0.65); P<0.001. 


C(m) 9, 6.5-7.9 (7.19 + 0.44); N (m) 76, 7.1-9.2 (8.27 ± 0.52);, P<0.001. 

C(f) 9, 6.5-8.5 (7.46 ± 0.-66); N(f) 52, 7.0-10.7 (8.39 ± 0.61); P<0.001. 


C 6, 7.4-8.5 (8.07 + 0.40); N 97, 7.7-11.8 (9.16 ± 0.83); P<0.001. 

Kenya bird weights 73 


BRITTON, P.L. 1972. Weights of African bulbuls (Pycnonotidae) . Ostrich 43:23-42. 

DIAMOND, A.W. 1973. Altitudinal variation in a resident and a migrant passerine 
on Jamaica. Auk 90: 610-618. 

SALT, G.W. 1963. Avian body weight, adaptation, and evolution in western North 
America. The Proceedings 13th International Ornithological Congress 905- 

(Received 25 March 1977) 


R.J. Dowsett 

While preparing maps and species' accounts for the falcons (Falconidae) and 
plovers (Charadriidae) in the forthcoming Atlas of speciation in African Non- 
Passerine birdSj I discovered a number of records which amplify or clarify 
their distribution in East Africa as contained in such standard works as 
White (1965) and Williams (1967, 1969). I hope that publication of the more 
interesting of these will prompt East African ornithologists to docvmient any 
unpublished sight records which add further to the pictures presented. As 
Forbes-Watson (1971) is not available in Zambia, my nomenclature follows 
White (1965) . 


White (1965) records this species in Tnazania to as far south as the (Central) 
railway line. To be more exact, in the west it occurs south to Mwanza 
(Bowen 1931) and Wembere Steppe (Reynolds 1968), and further east to 230km 
south of Mt Kilimanjaro (Fuggles-Couchman & Elliott 1946) and Mkomasi (speci- 
men in the University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge, England examined by me) . 
Much further south there are two sight records which may well be correct, but 
which require substantiation. In the south-west there is a single record 
from the eastern escarpment of Lake Rukwa (Vesey-Fitzgerald & Beesley 1960) , 
and in the far south the species is reported from Chidya, Masasi by Tweedy 
(1966) . Both localities are well outside the normal range of the usual host 
of this falcon, the White-headed Buffalo Weaver Dinemellia dinemelli (Map 372 
in Hall & Moreau 1970) . 


Mann (1976) records this falcon from a few localities in Kenya, including 
Lokitaung in north Turkana and Amboselij fuller details of these records are 
of interest, and have been supplied by the observer, J.G. Williams {in litt.) . 
He found at least two pairs resident in a 10km line of high larva cliffs, to 
the west of the track from Lokitaung northwards to Liwan and Lokomarinyang in 
Ilemi Triangle on the Sudan border. These birds preyed on Red-billed Queleas 
Quelea quelea which nested in large colonies in nearby Acacia mellifera bush. 
In addition, Williams reports twice seeing adult Taita Falcons near the 01 
Turkai swamp in Amboseli; these would presumably be wanders from Mt Kilimanjaro, 
where they may be resident. Mann (1976) also mentions, without details, the 
occurrence of this species at Malindi. The late Capt. C.R.S. Pitman [in litt.) 
considered that he saw Taita Falcons on the Kenya coast at both Malindi and 
Diani Beach near Mombasa. In view of his considerable experience of the 
species most likely to be confused, the African Hobby F. cuvieri^ one cannot 
dismiss these records out of hand, but there are no suitable cliffs in these 

Scopus 1: 73-78, September 1977 

74 Falcons and plovers in East Africa 

areas and I have no suggestion of such wanderings in Zambia, where the Taita 
Falcon is best known. 

There are two Kenya specimens, the type from Taita and one in the Meinertz- 
hagen collection (now in the British Museum) from Voi (D.W. Snow in litt.) . 
It should be stressed that the captive juvenile reported from Nairobi by 
Spinage (1957) was, in fact, a Sooty Falcon F. conoolov (J.G. Williams in 
litt. ) and the specimen is in the National Museum. 

An acceptable sight record not mentioned by Mann (1976) is of an adult 
seen near Samburu Lodge on 15 August 1965 by D.A. and M. Zimmerman (pers. comm.) 
When I visited that area in 1976 I noticed hills that might provide suitable 
nesting sites, based on my experience in Zambia. The only other recent sight 
records known to me are those of Lack (1976) from the Taita Hills and near 
Voi. These three records are submitted tentatively, but they may all be 

In Tanzania, the Crater Highlands record quoted by Mann (1976) from Mack- 
worth-Praed & Grant (1957) is a sighting from Olosirwa Mt (Elliott & Fuggles- 
Couchman 1948) . In addition to J.S.S. Beesley's sight record from the east 
side of Kilimanjaro, quoted by Mann, the species has been seen there by 
Sir Hugh Elliott {in litt, ) . 

There is no p\iblished record from Uganda, but the late Capt. Pitman {in 
litt, ) reported seeing what "might have been" a Taita Falcon at Bukakata, on 
the north-west shore of Lake Victoria. As with the Kenya coastal records, 
this observation may be correct, but clearly requires confirmation. 

[other Kenya records are in the 'Short communications' section of this issue, 
they could not be made known to R.J. Dowsett in time. Ed.] 

FALCO COmOLOR Sooty Falcon 

The distribution of this migrant species, away from its breeding areas, has 
been well described by Moreau (1969) . In addition to the Tanzanian records 
quoted by him, there is an undated specimen from Tanga (Benson 1967: 93). 
Moreau made no mention of a claimed breeding record from Tanzania that is 
quite without supporting details, and probably without merit. Thomas (1962) 
reported a pair nesting in Kibondo District during August 1960, but this is 
inherently unlikely. 

The Kenya records documented by Moreau (1969) include a specimen from 
Nairobi dated 21 January. Lest it should be thought that this denotes a bird 
wintering so far north, it should be stressed that this is the specimen, now 
in the National Museum, previously claimed by Spinage (1957) to be a Taita 
Falcon. When captured it showed obvious signs of already having been in 
captivity (J.G. Williams in litt.), and so both date and locality may be 


Mann (1976) records this species only from the Western and Nyanza Provinces in 
Kenya. In addition to his references, there is a specimen from south-east 
of Mt Elgon in the California Academy of Sciences, which I have examined. 
More interesting, there is a specimen labelled "Tana River, Embere" (i.e. in 
the Nyeri area) , collected by V.G.L. van Someren and now in the Musee Royal 
de I'Afrique Centrale, Tervuren, Belgi\am (M. Louette in litt.). 

FALCO DICKINSONI Dickinson's Grey Kestrel 

White (1965) records this species north in Tanzania to Kilosa and Pemba in the 
east. There is a specimen in the National Museum, Nairobi, from Magunga in 
western Tanzania. 

Falcons and plovers in East kfvioa 75 


The only published record from Tanzania is apparently from the north-east, at 
Kitxambeine, south-east of Lake Natron (Mackworth-Praed & Grant 1957) . In add- 
ition there is a specimen from as far south as Dodoma, collected by van Someren 
and now at Tervuren (M. Louette in litt. ) . It is dated 6 December and may be 
a non-breeding wanderer, as has been noted in parts of Zambia (Benson et al. 


Mann (1976) details the first Kenyan records. For Turkana he mentions "extreme 
north" - J.G. Williams (in litt.) specifies north of Lokitaung in the Ilemi 
Triangle, where he found many pairs nesting. There is a specimen in the 
National Museum, Nairobi, from the Mogilla range in the north-west Kenya/Sudan 
border area. Mention must also be made of two specimens from much further 
south in Kenya, namely the Rift Valley 50km west of Nairobi and Lake Naivasha. 
The first is in the Peabody Museiom, Yale University, U.S.A. (C.G. Sibley in 
litt,), the second in the National Museiom, Nairobi. 

For Uganda, Mann (1976) can quote sight records from only two localities, 
both in Karamoja. There is a skeletal specimen from Debasian, Karamoja, in 
the Royal Ontario Musexom, Canada, collected by G. Hyslop on 27 March 1970 

(R.D. James in litt,). In addition, Elliott (1972) apparently saw several in 
Kidepo National Park while D.J. Pearson (pers. comm.) saw two at Kaabong 

(nearby) on 19 June 1966. 

VANELLUS ABMATUS Blacksmith Plover 

Elliott (1972) records this species, without comment, from Kidepo National Park 
in northern Uganda. He makes no mention of the Spur-winged Plover V, spinosus 
which would seem much more likely to occur there. I know of no acceptable 
record from Uganda? the nearest is apparently a specimen from 15 miles (24km) 
south of Maralal, Kenya (Los Angeles County Museum) . 

VANELLUS SPINOSUS Spur-winged Plover 

The most southerly acceptable record from Tanzania is apparently a specimen 
from Morogoro (Friedmann 1930) . The species has been reported from the Rukwa 
Valley by Vesey-Fitzgerald & Beesley (1960) , but it is not clear what evidence 
there is for this. 


This species breeds at a relatively high altitude, and there is a striking gap 
in its distribution, between northern Tanzania and South Africa. Nou in Mbulu - 
District (specimen in the National Museum, Nairobi) appears to be the most 
southerly locality in Tanzania. However, there is a sight record from Njombe 
in the southern highlands (Haldane 1956) , which may in time prove to be 
correct. It is difficult to explain the absence from suitable areas in 
southern Temzania and northern Malawi. As mentioned by Vesey-Fitzgerald & 
Beesley (1960) , sight records from the low- lying Rxikwa Valley are surely the 
result of confusion with V. lugubris. 

VANELLUS SENEGALLUS Senegal Wattled Plover 

Mann (1976) could trace no records from Tanzania, but Reynolds (1977) has drawn 
attention to his own earlier published observations as has Beesley (1977) . 
The species has also been recorded from Wanging'ombe Dam near Njombe (Haldane 
1956) and Bussissi (Mwanza) , Magango and Karagwe, west of Bukoba (Reichenow, 
quoted by Friedmann 1930) . I have examined specimens from the Ufipa Plateau 
(National Museum, Nairobi and Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles, Bruxelles^ 
Belgium) , Buchosa in Mwanza District and Kasulu in Kigoma District (both in 
Nairobi) . There is also a specimen from Kafakola in the Museum Alexander 
Koenig, Bonn, Germany (H.E. Wolters in litt.). 

76 Falcons and plovers in East Africa 

VANELLUS SUPERCILIOSUS Brown-chested Wattled Plover 

Schmidl (1977) reports 'juveniles' from Kendu Bay near Kisximu on 10 September, 
and it might be thought from this that the species breeds in Kenya. Further 
evidence might be sought from van Someren (1935) who says "I have obtained 
examples in the south Kavirondo area in which district it breeds .... My only 
evidence that it breeds in the south Kavirondo district is that three-quarter 
grown young, in first feather, were seen with their parents on the Kano flats 
[i.e. near Kisumu] . They were of such an age that they could not possibly have 
migrated there". However, Chapin (1939: 78) examined a "juvenile" collected 
by van Someren on 22 August, and confirmed that it was in fact several months 
old. The breeding of this species in Nigeria in December-June (egg-laying in 
January and February) is documented by Serle (1956) , and passage across north- 
eastern Zaire has been described by Chapin {loc. cit. ) . As far as I know, 
all East African records are between July and November. I think it unlikely 
that this intra-African migrant breeds at each end of its migration, although 
this is a possibility with some species of waterfowl, notably Fulvous Tree 
Duck Dendrocygna bicolor and Knob-billed Goose Sarkidiomis melanota^ known 
from ringing in Zambia and Rhodesia to have a trans-equatorial migration 
coinciding with suitable breeding conditions in both northern and southern 
hemispheres (Dowsett MS) . Incidentally, it would seem that the plains of 
Lake Victoria around Kisumu are likely to be visited regularly by the Brown- 
chested Wattled Plover in the non-breeding season. 

CHARADRIUS PALLIDUS Chestnut-banded Sand Plover 

Mann (1976) quotes, without comment, range extensions to Lakes Nakuru (breeding 
and Baringo in Kenya, from the nearest resident population on alkaline Lake 
Magadi. It is most surprising that these are the only such records from these 
well-known areas, and I would doubt - on the evidence available - that there 
are resident populations. It must also be remembered that richly coloured 
Kittlitz's Sand Plovers C. pecuarius have on occasion elsewhere in Africa 
been confused with the Chestnut-banded, which may, nevertheless, wander on 
occasion, as is apparently the case in south-western Rhodesia and Botswana 
(Dowsett MS) . I hope that observers resident in Kenya will document the 
status of this species in detail. 

Mann reports, as the only record from Uganda, a bird seen at Katwe Salt 
Lake in Ruwenzori (Queen Elizabeth) National Park by Pitman (Chapin 1954: 629). 
This might well be a suitable alkaline lake for this species, but there have 
been no other records since 1948. As this would be a considerable extension 
of the known range of the species, and in view of the possible confusion with 
Kittlitz's Sand Plover, I would prefer to retain this record in square brackets 
pending further observations. 


I am most grateful to the following people who have supplied me with un- 
published information concerning specimens and sight records: Sir Hugh 
Elliott, Dr R.D. James (Royal Ontario Museum, Canada) , M. Louette (Musee Royal 
de I'Afrique Centrale, Tervuren, Belgium), the late Capt. C.R.S. Pitman, 
Prof C.G. Sibley (Yale Peabody Museum, U.S.A.), Dr D.W. Snow (British Museum, 
Natural History, Tring)', J.G. Williams, Dr H.E. Wolters (Museiom Alexander 
Koenig, Bonn, Germany) and Dr D.A. Zimmerman. I was able to examine personally 
specimens in some museums through the kindness of the following: C.W. Benson 
(University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge, England) , L.C. Binford (California 
Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, U.S.A.), Dr P. Devillers (Institut Royal 
des Sciences Naturelles, Bruxelles, Belgium) and A.D. Forbes-Watson (National 
Museums of Kenya, Nairobi) . 

Falcons and plovers in East Africa 11 


BEESLEY, J.S.S. 1977. Wattled Plover Yanellus senegallus in Tanzania. 
Scopus 1: 45. 

BENSON, C.W. 1967." The birds of Aldabra and their status. Atoll Research 
Bulletin 118: 63-111. 

BENSON, C.W. , BROOKE, R.K. , DOWSETT, R.J. & IRWIN, M.P.S. 1971. The birds of 
Zambia, London: Collins. 

BOWEN, W.W. 1931. The geographical forms of Polihierax semitorquatus . Proceed- 
ings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 83: 257-262. 

CHAPIN, J. P. 1939, 1954. The birds of the Belgian Congo. Parts 2 & 4. Bulletin 
of the American Museum of natural History vols 75 & 75B. 

ELLIOTT, C.C.H. 1972. An ornithological survey of the Kidepo National Park, 
northern Uganda. Journal of the East Africa Natural History Society and 
National Museum 129: 1-31. 

ELLIOTT, H.F.I. & FUGGLES-COUCHMAN , N.R. 1948. An ecological survey of the 

birds of the Crater Highlands and Rift Lakes, Northern Tanganyika Territ- 
ory. Ibis 90: 394-425. 

FRIEDMANN, H. 1930. Birds collected by the philds Frick Expedition to Ethiopia 
and Kenya Colony. Part 1. Non-Passeres . United States National Museum, 
Bulletin 153: 1-498. 

FUGGLES-COUCHMAN, N.R. & ELLIOTT, H.F.I. 1946. Some records and field-notes 
from north-eastern Tanganyika Territory. Ibis 88: 327-347. 

HALDANE, L.A. 1956. Birds of the Njombe District. Tanganyika Notes & Records 
44: 1-27. 

LACK, P.C. 1976. The status of the Taita Falcon. EANHS Bulletin 1976: 103-104. 

MANN, C.F. 1976. Some recent changes in our knowledge of bird distribution in 
East Africa. Journal of the East Africa Natural History Society and 
National Museum 157: 1-24. 

MOREAU, R.E. 1969. The Sooty Falcon Falco conoolor Temminck. Bulletin of the 
British Ornithologists ' Club 89 : 62-67 . 

REYNOLDS, J.F. 1968. Notes on the birds observed in the vicinity of Tabora, 
Tanzania, with special reference to breeding data. Journal of the East 
Africa Natural History Society and National Museum 117: 117-139. 

1977. Wattled Plovers Vanellus senegallus in Tanzania. Scopus 

1: 22-23. 

SCHMIDL, D. 1977. In National Museums of Kenya, Department of Ornithology, 
Newsletter No. 10: 6. 

SERLE, W. 1956. Notes on Anomalophrys superciliosus (Reichenow) in West Africa 
with special reference to its nidification. Bulletin of the British 
Ornithologists' Club 76: 101-104. 

SPINAGE, C.A. 1957. A rare bird, indeed! Natural History (New York) 66: 250- 

THOMAS, D.K. 1962. Birds - Further notes on breeding in Tanganyika. Tanganyika 
Notes & Records 58/59: 197-202. 

TWEEDY, C.J. 1966. A list of birds seen in southern Tanzania. Journal of the 
East Africa Natural History Society and National Museum 25 (112): 179-188. 

78 Fatoons and plovers in East Africa 

van SOMEREN, V.G.L. 1935. The birds of Kenya and Uganda, Part 4, vol.11. 
Charadriidae. Journal of the East Africa and Uganda Naticral History 
Society 12 (1,2) : 17-18. 

VESEY-FITZGERALD, D. & BEESLEY , J.S.S. 1960. An annotated list of the birds 
of the Rukwa Valley. Tanganyika Notes & Records 54: 91-110. 

R.J. Dowsett^ Livingstone Musewn^ Box 498^ Livingstone, Zambia. 

(Received 13 June 1977) 


The first part of this article was published in Scopus 1: 39-43. As mentioned 
in the first part, only records to June 1976 are included here, later records 
will be published in the sub-committee's Bird Report due out in early 1978. 

LARUS RIDIBUNDUS Black-headed Gull 

Backhurst et at. (1973) give only six records of this species, all from Kenya. 
Since the invasion of these gulls in 1971/72 it has been regularly recorded 
from Kenya and coastal Tanzania in some numbers. An account of this change of 
status is at present in preparation for Scopus. 


A few, Sokoke-Gedi, 7 Apr 72 (DAT) ; 1 Sokoke, 16 Apr 76 (DJP) and 5 there, 

25 Apr 76 (JS) . 

OTUS SCOPS European Scops Owl 

Two Palaearctic birds ringed, Naivasha, 23 Feb 75: 110 g, 169mm wing and 95 g, 

156 mm wing (GCB, WPHD, CFM) . 


Lake Manyara, 1, 31 Oct 69 (DAT); 1, Dandora 12 Mar 70 (BSM) ; 1 ringed. Lake 

Nakuru 31 Oct 70 (DJP, GCB); 1, Lake Naivasha 27 Feb 73 (DAT). 

Ngulia Lodge: 14 ringed (caught at night) 12-19 Nov 74. Birds of both the 

nominate race and the eastern unwini were involved. In 1975 only two were 

ringed, on 27 Nov (DJP, GCB). 

LANIUS SENATOR Woodchat Shrike 

1, Samburu, 23 Feb 70 (DAT); 1, Bungoma, 28 Jan - 4 Feb 73 (HB) . 

1 near Garissa, 11 Nov 74 (DAT). 


At Ngulia Lodge, 1971: singles caught 28 Nov, 7 Dec and 12 Dec. 

1972/73: recorded most days, 28 Nov - 13 Dec, 36 ringed. 

1973/74: most days 24 Nov - 20 Dec, and again 31 Dec; 23 ringed. 

1974/75: recorded 27 Oct, then most days 13 Nov - 22 Dec; 54 

1975/76: most days 27 Nov - 15 Dec; 34 ringed. (GCB, DJP). 
Other records: 1 ringed Athi R. , 19 Nov 71; singles seen at two localities 
near Mtito Andei, 13 Feb 73; 1 ringed Watamu, 11 Apr 76 (DJP). One seen Voi, 
9 Dec 75, and another ringed there Apr 76 (PL) . 

^ Compiled by members of the E.A.N. U.S. Ornithological sub-committee 

Scopus 1: 78-81, September 1977 

Recent Pdlaearotic records 79 


This is an abundant bird in eastern Kenya on southward passage from Nov to 
early Jan. Some measure of the niambers involved can be gathered from the 
fact that nearly 5000 were ringed at Ngulia Lodge during the autumns 1972/73 - 
1975/76, and many tens of thousands more seen. The following were presumably 
wintering: two (one observed in heavy moult) near Mtito Andei 13 Feb 73; 
one ringed Ngulia (also moulting) , 14 Feb 73 (DJP) . We have the following 
spring records: 1 Ngulia, 14 Apr 71 (GCB, PLB) ; 30 ringed and others seen 
23-26 Apr 73 (DJP) ; 2 ringed 28 Apr 74 (GCB) . One in song Athi R. 13 Apr 72 
was still there on 18th (DJP). Singles ringed at Kariobangi 28 Apr 72, 11 Apr 
and 4 May 73, 10 Apr and 25 Apr 75 (DJP, GCB) . One of the main migrants in 
the coastal scrub, Watamu, mid Apr 76, when 18 were ringed (DJP) . 


Recorded regularly each autiomn at Ngulia Lodge, Tsavo West, where it is one of 

the earliest species to pass through. We have the following records: 

1971: 3 ringed 28 Nov. 

1972: 11 ringed and 1 picked up dead 29 Nov - 5 Dec; singles ringed 10 and 
11 Dec. 

1973: 15 ringed 24 Nov - 3 Dec, and 1 13 Dec. 

1974: 19 ringed 12-22 Nov. 

1975: 1 ringed 3 Nov, 25 more 13 Nov - 1 Dec, and 2 each 6 and 8 Dec. 
130 birds ringed on 14 Nov included 10 Olive-tree Warblers. 
Few Olive-tree Warblers have been seen at the Lodge apart from those caught, 
but an early bird was seen on 26 Oct 75 (GCB, DJP) . 

Tsavo East, one watched for several hours in the grounds of Voi Lodge, 7 Mar 75 
(supporting details received) (BSM) . 
At Watamu one was ringed on 13 Apr 76 (DJP) . 


DJP comments: based on observations in early 75 and early 76, I would describe 
this species as widespread, and in places common, in Tsavo and in the thornbush 
nearer the coast from January to early April (latest date, 17th) . It seems to 
remain in arid bush areas in winter after such species as Barred Warbler Sylvia 
nisoriaj Whitethroat S. communis and Irania Ivccnia gutturalis have moved on. 
It is also common in Comnriphova woodland at Voi, where PL and I found it out- 
numbered 5:1 by Olivaceous Warblers Hippolais pallida. At Mtito Andei, high 
numbers early in Jan 74 and 75 suggested some through movement at this time. 
I have no personal knowledge of this bird from northern Kenya, where it may 
well be widespread, but have found it only exceptionally around Nairobi and in 
the rift valley. The only record from five years' netting at Kariobangi, 
Nairobi, was on 5 Apr 74. 

Recorded annually at Ngulia Lodge, Nov - Jan, some birds passing through 
late in the passage period. Numbers ringed there are as follows: 
1971: singles ringed 23 Nov and 6 Dec. 

1972/73: 12 ringed 30 Nov - 7 Jan. 

1973/74: 18 ringed 24 Nov - 4 Dec, and another 6, 22-31 Dec. 

1974/75: 26 ringed 13 Nov - 13 Jan. 

1975/76: 28 ringed 13 Nov - 15 Dec. 
Other records: 1 Meru N.P. , 26 Jan 73 (OWF) ; 1 Embu, 7 Feb 76 and 1 Meru N.P. 
8 Feb 76 (DJP); 4-5, 12-14 Apr 76, Samburu Lodge (ADF-W) . 


One of the commonest late autumn migrants coming to ground at night at Ngulia 

Lodge; the records are summarized as follows: 

1971: 1 ringed 23 Nov, 6 ringed and 2 dead 28 Nov, 11 ringed 5-11 Dec. 
1972/73: recorded daily 29 Nov - 14 Jan. 171 ringed and 8 picked up dead. 

80 Recent Palaearctio records 

Scattered elsewhere in the Ngulia Hills in late December. 

1973/74: almost daily, 24 Nov - 30 Dec, and seen 6 Jan. 159 ringed and 9 

found dead in the Lodge. 
1974/75: almost daily, 13 Nov - 23 Dec. 255 ringed, 8 found dead. Found 

at several other places along the Ngulia escarpment, 14 Dec. 
1975/76: again regular, 26 Nov - 15 Dec, when 215 were ringed. Recorded 
at Ngulia away from the Lodge 14 and 15 Dec. Of 1656 birds 
ringed at the Lodge 5-8 Dec, no fewer than 128 were River Warblers. 
This species has not been encountered in numbers at Ngulia before the end of 
November and seems to be most abundant early in December. There is a spring 
record of a bird ringed 24 Apr 73 (GCB, DJP) . 

In view of its autiomn status at Ngulia, the infrequency with which the 
River Warbler has been recorded elsewhere in Kenya and, for that matter, Tan- 
zania, is very surprising. We have the following unpublished records: 

Singles ringed Kariobangi, Nairobi, 19 Nov 71, 24 Nov 71, 28 Nov 71 and 
13 Apr 72 (DJP, GCB); 1 ringed Athi R. 20 Nov 71 and 1 seen there 12 Dec 71 
(DJP) ; 1 seen Mtito Andei 27 Dec 72 (DJP) . 


1 singing Lake Nakuru 29 Jan 72 (DJP) ; 1 Cobb Farm, Mau Narok 23 Feb 76 (HP) ; 
1 ringed Nandi Hills 29 Feb 76 (DC) ; 2 seen in bamboo zone, Mau Escarpment 
above the headwaters of the Njoro R. , 21 Jan 76 (BSM) . 


Common annually in Samburu during good rains in Nov. Particularly common there 
5-7 Nov 74 when some 25-30 were seen in a single day (DAT) . Found wintering 
commonly in early 76 near the Tsavo R. (Tsavo West) , in scattered bush near the 
Taitas, and in arid bush east of Tsavo (DJP). A few in the coastal scrub belt 
Feb - Mar 76, with records from Watamu, Sabaki R. , the Mombasa area and the 
edge of the Sokoke Forest (DJP, PA) . Birds still present in Tsavo to mid Apr 
76, and a marked spring passage noted at Watamu, 10-13 Apr 76 (DJP) . In East 
Tsavo from 4 Nov 75, thereafter common throughout the 75/76 winter as during 
the previous winter (PL) . A regular Nov passage bird to the Mtito Andei area 
(DJP) , but otherwise scarce. Seen there 17 Feb 75 and 28 Feb 76. 
Ngulia Lodge autumn passage records are: 

1971: 11 ringed 22-30 Nov and others seen; 1 ringed 5 Dec. 

1972: 18 ringed 29 Nov-5 Dec, and 5 others later in Dec; many of these were 
in the Lodge building at night. 

1973: 9 ringed 24 Nov-1 Dec, and 1 on 12 Dec. 

1974: 46 ringed 12-25 Nov, and singles on 7 and 20 Dec. 

1975: 33 ringed 12 Nov-1 Dec, and singles on 8 and 10 Dec. Last seen 
on 13 Dec. 
This is a relatively early passage bird at Ngulia, where there are rather few 
records from December and none from January (GCB, DJP) . 

We suspect that this species is widespread in the northern winter in north- 
east Kenya, but know of no recent records from there. 

IRANIA GUTTURALIS Irania (or White- throated Robin) 

Tsavo: common each year (71-76) during December and early January. Birds also 
appear in rain during November. Only a few remain in the Park throughout Feb 
and March. Singles were ringed at Mtito Andei 11 Mar 74 and at Voi 27 Feb 76. 
Passage is usually is usually recorded at Voi at the end of Mar/early Apr (DJP, 
PL). Common around 1200m in dry scriob bordering cultivation on the southeast 
slopes of the Taitas, 28 Feb 76 (DJP). 

At Ngulia Lodge, considerable numbers have appeared at night each late 
autumn with ringing records as follows : 

Recent Palaearotic records 81 

1971: 21 Nov-7 Dec, 10 ringed. 

1972/73: 29 Nov-7 Jan, 49 ringed. 

1973/74: recorded 11 Nov-3 Feb, 50 ringed. 

1974/75: 13 Nov-14 Jan, 177 ringed. 

1975/76: 26 Nov-6 Jan, 88 ringed. 
Regularly still appearing at the Lodge late in the season. 

Other records: Serengeti, T, 21 and 23 Jan 71 (DAT); 1 Olduvai, T, 14 Feb 75 
(DAT); 1 Samburu, 6 Nov 74 and 1, 7 Dec 72 (DAT); 2 Namanga, 8 Jan 74 (DJP) . 
At Kariobangi, Nairobi, mainly on spring passage: 1-2, 10-17 Apr 73, 1 ringed 
28 Dec 73 retrapped there 7 Feb 74; others ringed 16 Feb and 10 Mar 74, were 
presiamed winterers; up to 3 regularly 30 Mar- 13 Apr 74; 1 31 Mar 75; singles 
2 Apr and 5 Apr 76 (DJP, GCB) . 


This is a common passage migrant in eastern Kenya from late Oct to Dec, the 
earliest recent record we know of being from Tsavo East, 11 Oct 75 (PL) . 
There are the following records of birds apparently wintering: 
near Mtito Andei: at least 6 seen and heard singing 13 Feb 73 (see EANHS Bull- 
etin 1973: 140). Seen and heard at the same site 11 Mar 74, 7 Apr 74 and 17 
Feb 75. One at Kibwesi, 13 Feb 73 (DJP) . 

Relatively scarce on spring passage. A few records from the Voi area, late 
March/early April 75 and 76 (PL, DJP) . Common in the coastal scrub at Watamu 
9-15 Apr 76 where 8 were ringed (DJP) ; still present at Ras Ngomeni 20-22 Apr 
76 (JS) . Present most springs around Nairobi. DJP has the following records: 
1 Athi R. , 6 Apr 71; 1, 1 Apr 73 and 2, 3 Apr 73, Athi R. ; up to 3-4 regularly 
Kariobangi, 4-19 Apr 73; 5+, Mathare Valley, 15-16 Apr 73; 1 Kariobangi 26 Mar 
74; up to 3 there 3-17 Apr 75; up to 4 there 26 Mar-8 Apr 76; up to 4+ Chiromo 
1-8 Apr 76; 1 Kabete, 11 Apr 76 (BSM) . 


1 Bungoma, 24 Dec 71 (HB) ; 1 ringed Nakuru, 7 Jan 72 (DJP) and one there on 
27 Mar 74 (BSM, JKW, DW) ; 1 Naivasha, 24 Dec 73 (DJP) ; 1 heard in Commiphora 
woodland at Voi, 5 Jan 76 (DJP) ; 1 Kajiado, 13 Jan 76 (DJP) . 


One Lake Manyara, 23 Jan 69, believed to be the first record for Tanzania (DAT), 

One Lavington (Nairobi) garden, 14-18 Oct 74, believed immature alhicollis 
(DAT) . Two Kakamega, 31 Oct 74 in forest canopy (DAT) . 


P. Agland, G.C. Backhurst, R. Briggs, P.L. Britton, H. Buck, D. Cape, 

G.L. Clarke, G.R. Cunningham-van Someren, R. Daniell, W.P.H. Duffus, 

A.D. Forbes-Watson, J. Gerhart, P. Harris, K.M. Howell, G.S. Keith, P. Lack, 

C.F. Mann, B.S. Meadows, OWF = P.J. Oliver, C.E. Wheeler and J.G. Francis, 

D.J. Pearson, H. Pelchen, D.K. Richards, J.G. Rolfe, J. Squire, D.A. Turner, 

K.H. Voous, D. Weston and J.K. Weston. 


BACKHURST, G.C, BRITTON, P.L. & MANN, C.F. 1973. The less common Palaearctic 

migrant birds of Kenya and Tanzania. Journal of the East Africa Natural 

History Society and National Museum 140: 1-38. 

CAMPBELL, I. & L. 1975. Lesser Spotted Eagle in Kenya. EANHS Bulletin 1975:65. 

DOWSETT, R.J. 1975. Lesser Spotted Eagle in Tsavo National Park, ibidem-. 14. 

HOPSON, A.J. & J. 1975. Preliminary notes on the birds of the Lake Turkana 
area. Cyclostyled, Kitale. 

82 Short conmunioations 



Peter Lack 

Recently there has been a small active heronry at Lake Jipe in the south-west 
of Tsavo National Park (West) . I do not know when it was first occupied but 
the National Parks' boatman evidently did not know about it on my visit on 
28 March 1975. The colony is situated on a swampy reed island in the middle 
of the lake, and is almost impossible to penetrate. As a result, no count of 
nests was possible. The whole island measures about 150m square and birds 
only appear to be occupying one end. The total number of pairs involved (at 
least on my two visits) was certainly not greater than 50, and probably 
considerably less. Details of my two visits follow. 

31 July 1976 (with Tim Morgan and Rosemary Cockerill) : 

Vhalaovocovax afvicanus Long- tailed Cormorant, several large young; also 
one nest with three small chicks was certainly this species, and one with 
three eggs and another with four very, small chicks were probably so. 
Avdea metanocephata Black-headed Heron, two large young present. 
Egretta garzetta Little Egret, Flatalea alha African Spoonbill and 
Threskiomis aethiopicus Sacred Ibis: a few large young of all three. 

Also on the island close to the colony were a few adult Cattle Egrets Avdeola 

■ibis and one adult Black Heron Egretta a:rdesiaca. 

26 December 1976 (with Dieter Schmidl) : 

There were several large young of the Long-tailed Cormorant and Black-headed 
Heron. Also, there were a few large young Purple Herons Avdea purpurea and 
Sacred Ibises. 

Most of these species normally nest in trees; indeed, only the Purple 
Heron and Long-tailed Cormorant habitually nest in reed beds though this habit 
is known for the others. 

On 31 July 1976 we also checked from the air the trees around the southern 
half of the lake away from human habitation, and there was no sign of a colony. 
The trees there are rather scattered and fairly accessible, so a colony would 
probably be disturbed before it became established. Presumably it is the 
lack of suitable trees which made the tree-nesters use the island site instead. 

There are one or two other potential colonists. Notable among these, 
though both also prefer to nest in trees, are the Night Heron Nycticorax nycti- 
Gorax, of which there is usually a flock of 200-300 in the reeds near the 
eastern shore, and the Black Heron. Lake Jipe is one of the few places in 
Kenya where one has a good chance of seeing this species, and I have seen it 
on all my seven visits over the last two years. 

Both my visits to the island appeared to be near the end of a breeding 
cycle, and it would be interesting to know the seasonality, if any, at this 
site and, more particularly, if the colony grows any larger. 

Peter Lackj Tsavo Research Station^ Box 14, Voi, Kenya. 

Present address: E.G.I./A.E.R.G. , Department of Zoology , South Parks Road, 
Ox ford J England. 

Received 11 May 1977. 

Scopus 1: 82, September 1977 

short communications 83 


A. A. Geertsema 

On 1 March 1977, during a visit to the Gol Mountains, situated along the north- 
eastern boundary of the Serengeti National Park in northern Tanzania, I saw 
a Taita Falcon Faloo fasciinuoha perched on Nasera Rock, a rounded granite 
inselberg about 150in high and rising separately from the south-western side 
of the Gol range. 

The bird remained perched approximately 50-100 m above the ground through- 
out the 15-20 min of observations, and I was able to compare it with the 
many Lanner Falcons F. hiarmious that were present at the time. The Taita 
Falcon was noticeably smaller with a darker slate-blue mantle and chestnut 
nape, as opposed to the more extensive chestnut-coloured head of the Lanners 
which also were noticeably larger and lighter in colour. 

Other birds of prey seen on or around Nasera Rock on this date were 
Riippell's Griffon Vulture Gyps rueppellii^ Egyptian Vulture Neophron percno- 
pteruSj Lammergeyer Gypaetus barhatus^ Tawny Eagle Aquila rapax, Verreaux's 
Eagle A. verreauxi^ Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni and Greater Kestrel 
F. rupicoloides . 

A. A. Geertsema^ Fraamgraoht 2j Soestdijk^ Netherlands and c/o Box 284, Arusha, 

Received 13 June 1977. Scopus l: 83, September 1977 

Hermann Pelohen 

On 12 July 1977 at about 07 . 30 hrs I was having breakfast at Banda No.l of 
Ngulia Safari Camp in Tsavo National Park (West) , when a rather small falcon 
dashed towards the waterhole. I first thought it was an African Hobby Faloo 
ouvieri, but then the falcon sat down at the dead tree closest to the bandas 
and with my 40x telescope I could realize immediately that it was a Taita 
Falcon F. fasciinuoha. There was a very broad moustachial stripe as in the 
Peregrine F. peregrinus, which neither the Lanners F. hiarmious nor the 
hobbies F. subbuteo and cuvieri have, a brownish-black crown and two very 
distinct chestnut patches at either side of the nape, joined by a slightly 
paler and narrower horizontal band, below which there were two more parallel 
but paler chestnut stripes running down the hind neck. Eyelids, cere, feet 
and toes were yellow, bill bluish grey with blackish tip. Above (only seen 
from the side) it was brownish grey and below huffish white at the throat, and 
from the chest to under tail-coverts pinkish chestnut with few very small, and 
two bigger, dark spots at the flanks. The tail was rather short, giving an 
owl-like appearance to the body from some angles. When flying off at eye- 
level, the rump looked rather pale in comparison to the rest of the upper- 
parts . 

After a short while the falcon took off high into the air and, at a 
distance, it stooped at a swallow or swift but missed it and returned to 
another tree at the side of the banda. Professor N. Skinner and his wife 
happened to be in one of the other bandas and I called them to witness. After 
quite a while the bird took off again but only to sit down on the original 
tree where we could study it thoroughly. Eventually it took off again, high 

Scopus 1: 83-84, September 1977 

84 Short communications 

into the air and, against the opposite hill, it could be seen making a rather 
vertical stoop. When I was about to continue my breakfast it appeared again 
from low over the plains, swung a third time onto the same tree where it 
preened itself intensively. At about 08.30 hrs it took off again, and this 
time disappeared into the distant haze. Since the bird appeared so familiar 
with that particular tree I watched out for it next morning, but in vain. 

I have seen Lanners and African Hobbies but there can be no doxibt that 
the Ngulia bird was neither of these, but a Taita Falcon. 

Hermann Pelohen, Box 47097^ Nairobi. 

Received 9 August 1977. 


V.C. Fayad & C.C. Fayad 

A Grasshopper Warbler Looustella naevia was captured in a mist net at 06.45 hrs 
on 19 June 1977 on the Nguruman Escarpment. The netting site is located in 
very dense undergrowth at the edge of a swamp near the source of the Emungur- 
orkine River, at an elevation of 2000m.; the co-ordinates of the locality 
are 1*49'S., 35**55'E. The bird was ringed, described, photographed (Plate 1) 
and released. 

The initial feelings were that the bird might be a cisticola, but this 
was discounted because of the rounded tail, lack of subterminal black spots 
on the tail feathers, long under- tail coverts with dark centres (end of tail- 
coverts approximately 12mm from end of longest tail feather), streaked 
flanks, small streaks on neck and small feet. Furthermore, this bird's 
pointed wing was more typical of a Palaearctic migrant than any local species 
of warbler. 

The following additional particulars were noted: weight 12.0 g, wing- 
length 65mm; bill black above, horn below; iris dark brown; tail brown with 
light barring; tarsus and toes pink; no body, tail or wing moult. The tips of 
the primaries were neither new nor worn. 

G.R. Cunningham- van Someren, D.J. Pearson, G.C. Backhurst and C.J. Mead 
(British Trust for Ornithology, Tring) were all shown the three photographs 
(reproduced in Plate 1) of the bird and were all in agreement with its 
identification as a Grasshopper Warbler. 

Plate 1 clearly shows the pointed wing with the 2nd and 4th primaries 
almost equal in length, the 5th only marginally shorter, and the 3rd the 
longest. Plate Ic also shows the barred, rounded tail, and Plates la and lb 
the long, streaked under-tail coverts, and small feet. 

Of the other possible small streaked species of Locustella^ the Lanceolated 
Warbler L. tanoeolata is much smaller than the Nguruman bird; Pallas' Grass- 
hopper Warbler L. oerthiota and Middendorf f ' s Grasshopper Warbler L. ochoten- 
sis should both weigh* well over 12 g, and have white at, or near, the tips of 
the tail feathers (Willimason 1968) . 

Wintering quarters and migratory routes of the Grasshopper Warbler have 
always been obscure (Moreau 1972) . The Nguruman bird is the first to be 
recorded in East Africa. There are only two records of the species from 
Ethiopia (Ash & Watson 1974), and the Nguruman bird was from almost 1200km 
south of the more southerly Ethiopian record (Koka, 8°27'N., 39°06'E.). 

Scopus 1: 84-86, September 1977 

short eovmumoat'Lons 


Plate 1 . Grasshopper' Warbler Locus tella naevia, Ngurumany 19 June 1977 

Photographs y V.C. and C.C. Fayad 

86 Short commmioations 

It is remarkable that this first Kenya Grasshopper Warbler should have been 
captured in June, when virtually all Palaearctic passerines seem to be 
completely absent from East Africa. 


ASH, J.S. & WATSON, G.E. 1974. LoGUstella naevia in Ethiopia. Bulletin of 
the British Ornithologists' Club 94: 39-40. 

MOREAU, R.E. 1972. The Palaearctio-African bird migration systems, London & 
New York: Academic Press. 

WILLIAMSON, K. 1968. Identification for ringers I. The genera Cettia, Locust- 
ella, Acrocephalus, and Hippolais. 3rd ed. British Trust for Ornithology, 

V.C. & C.C. Fayad^ Box 14790^ Nairobi. 

Received 5 August 1977. 


P.L Britton & H.A. Britton 

The Chestnut- fronted Shrike Prionops soopifrons is a characteristic species of 
bird parties in the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest in coastal Kenya, especially in 
Braohystegia woodland, yet its eggs are still undescribed. Its nest has been 
described from both Amani (nominate race) and Sokoke (kirki) : the young at 
Amani were fed by three birds, in a nest built by several birds; but a bird 
inciibating for more than three hours in Sokoke Forest was not visited at all 
(see Mackworth-Praed & Grant 1960, Britton & Britton 1971). Like other 
Prionops species, these are intensely sociable birds for which co-operative 
breeding is probably the norm. The three small young in a nest found in 
Sokoke Forest on 18 April 1977 were fed Oohna berries by the sitting bird and 
two other adults. 

A nest with three fresh eggs was found in Sokoke Forest on 20 April 1977. 
These were very pale grey, tinged turquoise, liberally spotted and flecked 
lavender, brick and grey, especially in a ring 6-8 mm wide around the middle of 
each egg, closer to the blunt end. They measured (mm and g) : 19.0x15.3, 2.3; 
20.0x15.2, 2.4; 19.6x15.3, 2.4. The nest was a cup of grasses and thin bark, 
bound on the outside with cobwebs, 62x65 mm in diameter with an internal depth 
of 24mm. All three Sokoke nests were in forks of branches of Braohystegia 
spiaiformis at 9m, 4.5m and 6.5m above the ground. These three nests 
together with nine records of flying young fed by adults refer to egg- laying 
in each of the months January- July , peaking in April (6) . 

Mackworth-Praed & Grant (1960) state that the immature has the forehead 
blackish, uniform with the crown, and that the feathers of the alula have 
white tips. In our experience, the white tips near the alula are lost or 
very faint soon after fledging, so that they are not usually visible in recog- 
nizably immature birjis which still retain the far more conspicuous and 
characteristic white area in the remiges, as well as a grey-black iris and 
yellow-orange bill and legs. 


BRITTON, P. & BRITTON H. 1971. Black-billed Barbet and Chestnut-fronted Shrike 
breeding in Kenya. EANHS Bulletin 1971: 126-127. 

Received 27 June 1911 . Scopus l: 86, September 1977 

short aorrmmioations 87 


John Miskell 

On 7 May 1977 a nest of Fischer's Starling was found in the top of a thorn 
bush, about 2.5m above the ground, at the edge of a water pan, approximately 
2km north of Wajir, in the North Eastern Province of Kenya. The nest was 
built of coarse grasses and was completely roofed over with the opening above 
a small ramp facing south. The nest contained three well developed fully 
feathered young. They differed from the adults primarily by having bright 
yellow instead of black bills, and black rather than pale cream eyes. The 
young and adult birds were observed from a distance of 4 m for about two 
hours (08.00-10.00 hrs) and for another hour (08.00-09.00 hrs) the following 
day. Although the three young looked very much the same, their actions 
showed that they were not equally developed. One was noticeably more active 
than the others and was eventually enticed out of the nest by an adult with a 
butterfly in its beak. It 'flew' about a foot and was fed by the adult. It 
spent some time in the bush and then returned to the nest. On my arrival at 
the nest on 8 May one of the young was already outside and the other two were 
coaxed out a little later, but one of the latter stayed out for only a very 
short time. 

On two occasions, three adults arrived at the nest with food at nearly the 
same time. When this happened they formed a queue and waited their turn to 
feed the young. The second time this happened the third adult had only just 
(about 30 seconds) left the nest when another adult arrived with a butterfly 
in its beak. This was either a fourth adult or, highly unlikely, one of the 
earlier adults which had made by far the quickest return trip to the nest that 
I observed. It put its head into the nest but, apparently since they had all 
just been fed, none of the young birds took the food. After a few seconds the 
adult took its head out of the nest and, with the butterfly still in its beak, 
flew off to a second Fischer's nest about 25m away and fed a young bird there. 

This second nest was very much like the first, but was about 3m above the 
ground. Like the first, and that of a Superb Starling S. superbus not far 
away, its entrance also faced south. As the nest was high I was not able to 
see the young except when they poked their heads out. Only two young were 
observed at this nest. They did not appear to be nearly as well developed as 
those in the first nest, and they were not seen to leave the nest. On one 
occasion three adults were also observed together at this nest. 

The adults fed the young entirely on butterflies and caterpillars. Some- 
times after being fed, a young bird would do a quick 'about face', present its 
vent to the adult which had fed it, and discharge a sac of excrement which the 
adult bird would take in its beak. If the sac was large the adult would fly 
away with it, but if it was small the adult would eat it. The sacs seemed dry 
on the outside, but on the occasions when they were eaten they were ruptured 
and some of the white waste matter was noticed on the adult's bill. 

Although cooperative feeding has been recorded for the Superb Starling, 
and the two oxpeckers Buphagus africanus (Yellow-billed) and B. erythro- 
rhynchus (Grimes 1976) , it has not, to my knowledge, previously been recorded 
for Fischer's Starling. The fact that more than two adult birds carrying 
food were seen together at the nest on several occasions demonstrates that 
cooperative feeding does occur with this species. Also, the fact that one 

Scopus 1: 87-88, September 1977 

88 Short oommun-ications 

adult bird was definitely seen to visit two nests would seem to indicate 
that this group of birds was operating two nests simultaneously. 


GRIMES, L.G. 1976. The occurrence of cooperative breeding behaviour in African 
birds. Ostrich 47: 1-15. 

John Miskell^ Department of Entomology, National Museums of Kenya, Box 40658, 

Received 21 June 1977. 


At the time of writing (10 August) there are 141 subscribers or exchanges 
taking Scopus. For interest, here is a geographical breakdown of them, 
by country. 

East Africa 80, of which 74 are in Kenya, 5 in Tanzania and 1 in Uganda. 
Sudan 1, Malawi 1, Zambia 12, Rhodesia 1, South Africa 7. 
United Kingdom 12, West Germany 4, Switzerland 1, Netherlands 2, 
Denmark 2 , Sweden 2 , Poland 1 . 
Canada 1, U.S.A. 14. 



The following mistakes occurred in the June Scopus for which I apologize. 

1. p. 31, Sterna dougallii Roseate Tern, 2nd pa, line 7: should read 
mainly red bill (not mainly white) . 

2. p. 33, Sterna nigra Black Tern. The author writes: I overlooked a 
sight record of one at Lake Nakuru, 23 September 1953 (Wallace, D.I.M. 
1975. Rare and unusual Palaearctic birds in central Kenya in 1953. 
EAMS Bulletin 1975: 24-31). 

3. p. 47, the reference 'Britton 1976' should be Britton, P.L. & Osborne, 
T.O. 1976. 

4. p. 41, Hieraaetus pennatus Booted Eagle: the following were omitted: 
one on four dates 12 Jan-28 Feb 76 (PL) ; 2D, 28 Feb 76 (DJP) . 

5. p. 44, Black-shouldered Kite note, 2nd pa, line 3: e.4.5m should have 
been <3. 1 .5 m. 

6. I am sorry that the price was omitted from the front cover, that the 
text inside the front and back covers had been stuck in, and that the 
trimming was badly done. 



FORBES-WATSON, A.D. 1971. Skeleton checklist of East African birds. Nairobi 
(duplicated). = Forbes-Watson 1971. 

HALL, B.P. & MOREAU, R.E. 1970. An atlas of speciation in African Passerine birds. 
London: British Museum (Nat. Hist.). = Hall & Moreau 1970. 

JACKSON, F.J. 1938. The birds of Kenya Colony and the Uganda Protectorate. 3 vols, 
London: Gurney & Jackson. = Jackson 1938 

MACKWORTH-PRAED, C.W. & GRANT, c.H.B. 1957 & 1960. African handbook of birds. 

Series I, vols 1 & 2. Birds of eastern and north eastern Africa. 2nd Edition. 
London: Longmans Green & Co. = Mackworth-Praed & Grant 1957 and/or 1960. 

MOREAU, R.E. 1966. The bird faunas of Africa and its islands. London: Academic. 
Press. = Moreau 1966. 

1972. The Valaeajcctio-African bird migration systems. London: 

Academic Press. = Moxeau 1972. 

WHITE, C.M.N. 1960. A check list of the Ethiopian Muscicapidae (Sylviinae) Part I 
Occasional papers of the National Museyms of Southern Rhodesia 3 (24B) : 399- 
430. = White 1960. 

1961. A revised check list of African broadbills. . . .etc. Lusaka: 

Government Printer. = White 1961. 

1962a. A check list of the Ethiopian Muscicapidae (Sylviinae) Parts 

II and III. Occasional papers of the National Museyms of Southern Rhodesia 
3 (26B) : 653-738. = White 1962a. 

1962b. A revised check list of African shrikes ,.., etc . Lusaka: 

Government Printer, = White 1962b, 

1963, A revised check list of African flycatchers. .. .etc. Lusaka: 

Government Printer, = White 1963. 

1965, A revised check list of African Non-Passerine birds. Lusaka: 

Government Printer. = White 1965. 

WILLIAMS, J.G. 1967, A field guide to the National Parks of East Africa. London: 
Collins, = Williams 1967, 

1969, A field guide to the birds of East and Central Africa. 

4th impression, London: Collins. = Williams 1969, 


^^^/g|2pfK'. A^h II, Kf n:r 






J.F. REYNOLDS. Thermo-regulatory problems of birds nesting in arid areas 

in East Africa: a review 57 

P.L. BRITTON & H.A. BRITTON. Sunbirds nesting inside buildings at the 

Kenya coast 68 

P.L. BRITTON. Weights of birds in western and coastal Kenya: a comparison . 70 

R.J. DOWSETT. The distribution of some falcons and plovers in East Africa . 73 

Some recent records of Palaearctic birds in Kenya and Tanzania 78 

Short communications 

PETER LACK. A small heronry at Lake Jipe, Tsavo 82 

A. A. GEERTSEMA. Taita Falcon Faloo fasciinucha from the Gol Mountains, 

Tanzania 83 

HERMANN PELCHEN. A Taita Falcon Falco fasoiinueha in Tsavo 83 

V.C. FAYAD & C.C. FAYAD. A Grasshopper Warbler LoGUstelta naevia from 

Kenya 84 

P.L. BRITTON & H.A. BRITTON, The nest and eggs of the Chestnut- fronted 

Shrike Prionops scopifrons 86 

JOHN MISKELL. Cooperative feeding of young at the nest by Fischer's 

Starling Spreo fisoheri 87 


Siobscribers to Scopus 88 

Errata 88 

Printed in Kenya hy BEEZEE^ Box 30652^ Nairobi 

O-^ ^v^v vj 


A quarterly ornithological publication 

of the East Africa Natural History Society 

Volume 1 (4): December 1977 15 shillings 


Scopus is pxiblished five times a year by the East Africa Natiaral History Society's 
Ornithological Sub-Committee. Subscriptions are payable to the Hon. Treasurer 
(and Secretary) , D.A. Turner, Sooyus a/c. Box 48019, Nairobi, Kenya, at the 
following annual rates: 

1) To members of the E.A.N.H.S., Kenya shillings 50/- 

2) To all others, Kenya shillings 75/- 

All material for Scopus^ including papers, short commxani cat ions, and records of 
birds, should be sent to the Chairman of the Ornithological Sub-Committee, 
Dr D.J. Pearson, Department of Biochemistry, Box 30197, Nairobi. 

Other members of the Sub-Committee are: G.C. Backhurst (Editor of Scopus) , 
Box 29003 , Nairobi; P.L. & Mrs H.A. Britton, Box 90163, Mombasa; G.R. Cunningham- 
van Someren, Box 40658, Nairobi; Dr A.W. Diamond, Department of Zoology, 
Box 30197, Nairobi; A.D. Forbes-Watson, Box 49771, Nairobi; B.S. Meadows., 
Box 30521, Nairobi; J.F. Reynolds, Box 40584, Nairobi; D.K. Richards, Box 41951, 
Nairobi . 


Scopus welcomes original contributions in English on all aspects of East African 
ornithology. Contributions will be assessed by the Sub-Committee and by 
independent referees if necessary. The material published in Scopus will be 
divided into 'papers' and 'short communications', the latter will be less than 
two Scopus-pages in length. 

Contributions should be typed in double spacing, on one side of the paper only, 
with wide margins all round, and they should be submitted in duplicate. 
Exceptionally, clear hand-written MSS will be considered but these too should be 
sent in duplicate. Both English and scientific names of birds should be given 
when the species is first mentioned, thereafter only one should be used. Normally, 
authorities should not be given. 

Illustrations should be on Bristol board or good quality white paper in line, 
i.e. black on white, and should not be larger than 29 x 18 cm. Lettering (in 
black) will be the responsibility of the author and should be done neatly using 
stencils or Letraset; due allowance should be made for reduction to the final 
printed size. Each illustration should be numbered (Fig.l, etc.) and provided 
with a legend typed on a separate sheet of paper. Photographs will be considered 
if they are absolutely necessary. 

Tables, which should also be numbered, should appear in the typescript and 
need not be on separate sheets of paper, unless they are large. 

Metric units should be used. If non-metric units were used in the original 
observation or experiment, the approximate metric equivalent should be given 
in brackets. 

Any references cited should be listed at the end of the contribution following 
the form used in this issue. Names of periodicals should be given in full. 
A number of works, which are likely to be cited frequently, shoiild not be listed 
under references; the name of the author (s) and date(s) of publication should be 
given in the text in the normal way. A list of the works concerned is given 
inside the back cover. 

Observers are asked to send in records of birds for inclusion in the annual 
East African bird report issue. Records which appear in the National Museums of 
Kenya Department of Ornithology Newsletter will be reviewed for the annual report 
but, in the case of rare birds or birds showing an extension of range, full 
details supporting the record should be sxibmitted, whether the record is sent to 
the Newsletter or Scopus - this will save correspondence later on. 

All contributions should be sent to Dr D.J. Pearson, Department of 
Biochemistry, Box 30197, Nairobi. 

Scopus 1 (4) Deceinber 1977 



D,J, Pearson 

The. adults of Palaearctic wader species which winter in East Africa 
usually undergo all or part of their post-nuptial wing and tail moult 
there. Thus, for example, the Little Stint Calidris minuta^ the Curlew 
Sandpiper C, ferruginea and the Common Sandpiper Tvinga hypoteuoos 
begin in September /October , after reaching the tropics (Pearson 1974) , 
whilst other species, such as the Ruff Phitomaohus pugnax and the Wood 
Sandpiper T. glareola^ tend to begin before arrival, but complete most 
of the process in winter quarters. The young of most visiting wader 
species retain their juvenile flight feathers throughout their first 
year. Such birds commonly oversummer in the tropics, and begin their 
second year full moult in May, June or July, completing it in early 
autumn, some weeks before newly returned adults. This pattern is 
typical of larger waders such as the Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola 
and the Greenshank T. nebutar'Caj but is also seen, for example, in the 
Sanderling C. alba (Stresemann & Stresemann 1966) . A complete contrast 
is provided, however, by the Little Stint and the Ringed Plover Charad- 
rius hiatvouZa^ in which first year birds undergo a complete moult in 
East Africa between December /January and March/April, then migrate north 
with adults in spring (Stresemann & Stresemann 1966, Pearson 1974) . 

An intermediate situation has recently been described in which young 
waders renew only their outer primaries in Africa during their first 
late winter or spring, following this with a full moult the next autximn 
(Pearson 1974, Tree 1974, Elliott et al. 1976). This strategy is used 
commonly in Kenya by the Curlew Sandpiper and the Wood Sandpiper, and is 
occasionally also seen in the Marsh Sandpiper T. stagnatiliSj the Ruff 
and the Greenshank. Tree (1974) credits first year Common Sandpipers 
with partial primary moult only, but in Kenya they appear to renew most 
or all their juvenile flight feathers during late winter. The moult 
concerned is neither as complete nor as co-ordinated as the first winter 
moult of the Little Stint. It is compared here with that of other first 
year waders on the one hand and the adult Common Sandpiper on the other. 


In Kenya the Common Sandpiper is mainly an aut\imn passage bird, passing 
through in August and September. Winterers are found in some localities 
between October and April, but are particularly scarce in the rift 
valley. The species is virtually absent between mid-May and mid- July, 
and yo\ing birds appear to migrate north with adults. The present 

Scopus 1: 89-94, December 1977 

90 Common Sandpiper moult 

account is based on small nun±)ers of birds caught by the author with 
mist nets between 1967 and 1976, mostly at Nairobi but some at Naivasha 
and Nakuru, as well as on Kenyan skins examined at the British Museum 
(Natural History) and the National Museiom, Nairobi. 

The extent of moult and the degree of wear of non-moulting feathers 
in the major tracts has been routinely recorded. The moult of individ- 
ual remiges and rectrices has been scored using the system of Ashmole 
(1952) in which an unmoulted feather scores 0, a fully grown new feather 
5, and a missing or partly grown new feather between 1 and 4 depending 
on its stage of development. The progress of primary moult is indicated 
by a 'primary score' of between and 50, the sum of the scores of the 
ten individual large feathers in one wing. Primary score provides a 
useful index since primary replacement tends to span that of other tracts 
renewed during the same moult process. 

The Common Sandpiper has 15 true secondaries in each wing. Of these, 
the outer ten are flight feathers, usually moulted together with the 
primaries. The inner five have a protective function, covering the fold- 
ed flight feathers at rest. Together with the inner greater and some of 
the median coverts, which have a similar function, they moult independ- 
ently of, and more frequently than, the flight feathers. For convenience 
these inner feathers are referred to here as 'tertials', the term 
' secondaries ' being reserved for the ten outer feathers of the secondary 


Ageing In early autumn first year birds are readily distinguished from 
adults by the freshness of their pliamage, and by the prominent barring 
on their median and lesser wing coverts (Minton 1971) . Barring has 
largely worn from the adult wing coverts by this time, and the dark marks 
and centres of the old spring tertials and upperpart feathers produces 
a streaked and spotted impression. During post-nuptial wing moult adults 
acquire barred winter wing coverts similar to those of juveniles, and the 
new tertials and upperpart feathers lack the dark centres characteristic 
of spring plumage. Ageing thus becomes difficult although young birds 
can be distinguished up to about December by the extent of abrasion and 
fading of their flight feathers. During January and February age may be 
inferred only from the stage and pattern of moult, whilst in March and 
April it becomes impossible to determine. 

Primary moult in first year birds The primary moult score of all birds 
examined is plotted against date in Fig.l. From the limited autumn data 
on adult birds it is apparent that post-nuptial moult lasts about four 
months in Kenya, from the beginning of October to the beginning of Feb- 
ruary. Another group of birds moults primaries during January, February 
and March. These are taken to be first year birds, for no completely 
\inmoulted Common Sandpipers have been encountered after mid- January. 
Moreover, primary replacement in these late winter moulters resembles the 
African moult of some other first year waders in that it initially pro- 
ceeds outwards from the fourth, fifth or sixth feather, not from the 
innermost as in adults. 

Most of the presumed young birds in moult during January and February 
had paler brown old primaries still remaining in at least the three 
innermost positions in each wing. The question arrises as to whether, as 
moult proceeds outwards to the wing-tip, these birds replace their inner 
primaries as well. Do first year birds eventually acquire a full new set 

Common Sandpiper moult 91 

• a 








• • 




S 30 





/ - ■ " 






* 1 









1 1 1 


• w 




Fig. 1 Progress of primary moult of Common Sandpipers Tringa hypoleucos 
in Kenya, plotted against date. • ; adult birds; x ; presumed first 
winter birds; +: birds of indeterminate age 

of primaries, or merely new outer feathers as do young Wood Sandpipers? 
Evidence from February- April birds indicates that complete replacement 
does usually occur. Thus, three young birds had moult active in the 
inner primaries with replacement proceeding outwards from the centre of 
the tract at the same time (the moult of one of these is depicted in 
Fig. 2a) . Of six birds completing growth of the outer primaries in mid- 
late March, all except one had fresh looking inner primaries; all were 
probably first year birds, and one was certainly so to judge from the 
manner of renewal of its secondaries (see below) . Particularly inform- 
ative was a bird caught on 21 January with its inner three primaries old, 
the fourth new, the fifth growing and the rest old; it was retrapped on 
21 February when it had the inner six primaries new, the seventh growing 
and the rest old. Finally, of 24 birds of uncertain age examined be- 
tween March cind May with wing-moult complete (see Fig. 1) only one had 
the inner primaries noticeably older than the rest; it is highly un- 
likely that the others were all adults. A few young birds appear to re- 
tain their juvenile inner primaries in Kenya, but many clearly replace 

Because of the problem of ageing March birds, the speed of primary 
moult in young Common Sandpipers is difficult to assess from the records 
available. It seems to be in progress, however, only between January 
and March (early April) . Young birds must thus moult their primaries 
much more rapidly than adults. The retrapped bird already referred to 
probably took no longer than two months (see Fig. 1) . 


Common Sandpiper moult 


Little Stint 

Fig. 2 a) The moult state of the flight feathers of a first winter 
Common Sandpiper Tringa hypoleucos netted at Nairobi ^ 29 January 1972 

b) First winter replacement in Kenya of the juvenile wing 
feathers of three wintering wader species. 

unshaded: juvenile feathers replaced during second autumn full moult 

grey: replaced during the first year equivalent of adult pre- 

nuptial partial moult 

black: replaced during 'additional' first winter moult 

Cormon Sandpiper moult 93 

Seaondary moult in young birds Yoiing Common Sandpipers certainly re- 
new most, and usually all, their secondaries in Kenya in February and 
March, beginning when primary moult is about one third completed. Of 
fourteen birds with a primary score of 18 or more, eleven were also re- 
newing their secondaries. Adult birds follow the normal wader strategy 
of renewing their secondaries from the outermost inwards, but young birds 
moult them rather randomly, usually beginning near the middle of the 
tract. Secondary moult in young birds is very rapid, and as many as 
seven secondaries per wing have been found missing or only partly grown 
at one time. 

Replacement of other juvenile wing and tail feathers Young birds re- 
place their tertials, tail, alula and most or all their wing coverts in 
Kenya between January and early April. It is pointed out below, however, 
(see discussion) that tertial/tail moult and flight feather moult in 
young birds can be regarded as two coincident but different moult pro- 
cesses. Young birds replace their body plumage with spring feathers 
before migration just as adults do. 


Adult waders in general replace their tertials and tail with winter 
feathers during the course of the main autumn/early winter post-nuptial 
moult (Stresemann & Stresemann 1966). In East Africa, these tracts, 
together with some of the inner greater and median wing coverts, tend to 
be replaced again between January and April in a pre-nuptial partial 
moult, often by brightly edged or strongly marked spring feathers. First 
year waders usually replace their juvenile tertials, tail and some 
coverts in a process which appears analagous to the pre-nuptial moult of 
adults, and in some species breeding- type feathers are acquired (unpiob- 
lished observations) . In Kenya, the renewal of tail, tertials and inner 
wing-coverts in first year Common Sandpipers coincides in January /March 
with flight- feather moult, but appears to correspond to the pre-nuptial 
moult of adult birds y indeed most of the tertials and inner greater 
coverts acquired are dark centred, boldly marked spring feathers. On 
the other hand, the replacement of the primary and outer greater coverts 
and the alula is something additiona].. Together with the complete 
flight- feather moult it presumably represents an extension of the first 
year outer primary moult strategy exemplified by the Wood Sandpiper. 

Young Wood Sandpipers wintering in Kenya replace their tertials, tail 
and some wing-coverts with spring feathers. About half also replace 
their outer primaries, and usually one or two inner secondaries per wing 
during February /March . Thus, they depart in spring with many juvenile 
feathers in the wing. Young Little Stints, on the other hand, usually 
moult their wings and tail completely in late winter, and the order and 
relative timing in the various tracts is the same as during adult post- 
nuptial moult. Juvenile tertials, wing-coverts and tail are replaced by 
winter feathers while primary moult is in progress. These tracts are 
then quickly replaced again, this time by nuptial feathers, during March/ 
April, just as they are in adults (unpublished observations) . The first 
year moult strategy of the Common Sandpiper seems to be intermediate 
between those of the cd>ove two species. Most or all of the juvenile wing 
and tail feathers are replaced in winter quarters, but the tertials, tail 
and inner wing-coverts seem to be moulted only once, as in the Wood Sand- 
piper, not twice as in the Little Stint. Moreover, the usual sequence of 
flight- feather replacement is not that typical of an adult wader, as it 

94 Common Sandpiper moult 

usually is in the Little Stint, but involves initiation in the middle of 
the primary tract. 

In Fig. 2b the manner of replacement of the juvenile wing feathers of 
the three species in Kenya is compared. A distinction is made between 
first year moult corresponding to adult pre-nuptial moult, and 'addition- 
al' first year moult. The Common Sandpiper appears to show an inter- 
mediate stage in the evolution of a complete first winter wing moult from 
mere outer primary renewal. 


First year Common Sandpipers wintering in Kenya moult their flight- 
feathers between January and March. Moult initially proceeds outwards 
from the middle of the primary tract, but in many birds at least the 
innermost feathers are also eventually replaced. Secondary moult is 
usually complete, but occurs rapidly and somewhat randomly. The tertials, 
tail, inner greater and median coverts, lesser coverts and body feathers 
of young birds are replaced between January and March by spring feathers, 
just as they are in adults. However, the alula and the rest of the wing 
coverts are usually renewed also. As regards the extent and pattern of 
wing moult in first year birds, the Common Sandpiper appears to occupy 
a position intermediate between the Wood Sandpiper and the Little Stint. 


ASHMOLE, N.P. 1962. The Black Noddy Anous tenuirostris on Ascension 
Island. Ibis 103a: 235-273. 

W.J. A. 1976. The migration system of the Curlew Sandpiper Calidris 
ferruginea in Africa. Ostrich 47: 191-213. 

MINTON, C.D.T. 1972. Wader ageing guide. Tring: British Trust for 
Ornithology Wader Study Group [cyclostyled] . 

PEARSON, D.J. 1974. The timing of moult in some Palaearctic waders wint- 
ering in East Africa. British Trust for Ornithology Wader Study Group 
Bulletin 12: 6-12. 

STRESEMANN, E. & STRESEMANN, V. 1966. Die Mauser der Vogel. Journal fur 
Omithologie 107 (suppl.): 1-439. 

TREE, A.J. 1974. The use of primary moult in ageing the 6-15 month age 
class of some Palaearctic waders. Safring News 3: 21-23. 

(Received 30 November 1977) 


P.L. Britton 


The few breeding records of the Madagascar Pratincole Glareola ocularis 
refer to laying on rocks in northeast Madagascar in October-November, 
though the majority of Madagascar records are from the southwest in 
December-March, including birds moving west in February-March; 

Scopus 1: 94-97, December 1977 

Madagascar Pratincole 95 

it has been recorded in Madagascar only between 27 September and 29 March 
(Keith, Forbes-Watson & Turner in press) . The few records from elsewhere 
in the Malagasy region are from the Comores in October (Forbes-Watson 
1969). Rand (1936) gives no indication that it is migratory, but the 
more recent data cited show that it is absent from Madagascar between 
March and September, possibly arriving via the Comores and leaving from 
the south-west. 

In his review of its status in Africa, Moreau (1966) mentioned its 
presence in siobstantial nximbers in coastal Kenya in August-September, as 
well as its occurrence in coastal Tanzania and Somalia. He knew of no 
April- July records and speculated on the existence of an undiscovered 
non-breeding area. Granvik (1923) collected two from hundreds at Kendu 
Bay, on the Kavirondo Gulf of Lake Victoria, on 21-22 August 1920, but 
its occurrence inland is exceptional. Six at Sinya, Tanzania, on 
23 May 1973 (Harvey 1973) and one at Dubte, Ethiopia, on 29 October 1973 
(Ash 1977) are the only subsequent inland records. Benson (1971) has 
shown that its reported occurrence on the Zambezi River is erroneous, 
and that the most southerly authentic African records are from Mikindani 
in extreme southeast Tanzania, on 25 September 1965 (two) and 8 October 
1964 (not 1967 as given by Benson, G.F. Mees -in litt.) . The minimal 
details available for two birds at Kendu on 6 October 1976 are not at 
all convincing (C. Eddy in litt.). As a resident of Dar es Salaam, 
Tanzania, Harvey (1973, 1974) recorded it in two out of three Aprils and 
one out of four Augusts (7-22 April, 20-28 August); and H.F.I. Elliott 
(in Moreau 1966) had recorded it there in August to September (one year) . 
The data presented below show that one regular off-season area is in 
coastal Kenya, at the mouth of the Sabaki River, where Meadows (1974) 
saw one on 18 June 1974. 


The Sabaki River mouth (=Sabaki) and the dunes along the 5km stretch of 
shore between the river and Malindi have been recognized as regular 
resting sites for flocks of hundreds each August, when it is assumed 
that they have been on passage. This bias results from August being a 
holiday month for people living in Kenya and neighbouring countries, 
together with the fact that feeding pratincoles are especially numerous 
and conspicuous in August and early September, regularly as far afield 
as the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, Mida Creek and Ngomeni. Twice-monthly 
counts at Sabaki between July 1973 and October 1977, are summarized 
below, showing clearly that this is a regular off-season site for a flock 
of 800 or more, as well as a gathering or resting area for migrants, 
which may swell the numbers to 3500 or more. 

1973: 8 July - 16 September: up to 300. 

1974: 19 May - 22 September: up to 500 in August, 200 on 8 June". 

1975: 14 April - 21 September: up to 900 in mid-April (P. Agland in 
litt.), 160 on 31 May, 750 on 15 June, 700 on 25 August, 300- 
400 on 13 September (D.J. Pearson in litt.), 90 on 21 September. 

1976: 29 April - 26 September: 450 on 22 May, 800 regularly 20 June - 
12 August, 1500 in a single flock on 11 September; J.S. Ash {in 
litt.) estimated 2000+ on 19 September, when 650 left SE, but 
numbers declined rapidly after this, to only 8 on 26 September. 

1977: 4 April - 30 September: 4 on 4 April (D.J. Pearson in litt.), 
200 on 23 April, 350 on 21 May, 800 on 29 May, 200 on 25 June, 

96 Madagascar Pratincole 

600 on 23 July, 3500 together on 12 August, 2000 on 16 Sept- 
ember (P.G. Kaestner pers. comm.), 450 on 24 September; 6 on 
28 September and one on 30 September (W.P.H. Duffus pers. comm.). 

None of these counts is likely to represent the total population in the 
Malindi-Sabaki area. As aerial feeders, often at considerable height, 
they are only at all conspicuous in heavy rain or overcast weather when 
they feed at lower levels. Typically they are found resting on firm, 
level areas in dunes or on the exposed mud-flats of the river at all 
times of the day, and they are easily overlooked behind dunes, even if 
one is as close as 100 m. Niombers may be fairly stable between May and 
July, and certainly less erratic than the counts suggest. The better 
counts for 1975-77 are unlikely to reflect any real increase. The con- 
figuration of the river mouth changes after major floods, and all these 
good counts are from an area of recently created habitat (flooded but 
now dry apart from pools at spring tides) seaward of the line of high 
dunes on the north shore. 

There are few recent records from north of Sabaki and Ngomeni , and 
small numbers near Garsen on 1 September 1971 and 26 August 1972 are my 
only sightings on several overland visits to Lamu in August- September, 
including two visits to Kiunga and three brief visits to Kipini at the 
mouth of the Tana River. Jackson (1938) believed that the large south- 
ward-moving flocks which he saw on several evenings at Lamu and Mkonumbi 
in August-September (mainly September) were looking for open roosting 
ground rather than migrating. He also mentions a bird collected on the 
Tana River at Ngao in September, but it was not recorded on the lower 
Tana by Andrews, Groves & Home (1975) in July-August, nor by the 1976 
Tana River Expedition in September (K.L. Campbell pers. comm.). There is 
most probably a major off-season area north of the Tana River, perhaps in 
the Lamu archipelago, with its numerous creeks and abundant littoral 
habitat; but it might be at one of the river mouths in neighbouring 
Somalia. The only dated Somalia records traced are the two sub-adults 
collected on the lower Shebili River at 2°48'N. on 25 May and 3 June 1939 
(Moltoni, 1941) - dates which suggest that there is an off-season area in 
Somalia,'' though it has not been possible to gauge their regularity or 
abundance from the inadequate data in this and other Italian publications. 

The only published Kenya record from south of the Malindi-Sabaki area 
is from Gazi (undated) in van Someren (1933) . As a resident on the south 
side of Mtwapa Creek, near Mombasa, I have observed flocks moving south 
on September afternoons and evenings (before dusk) in 1973 (up to 65, 
15th, 17th, 20th), 1974 (up to 85, 8th, 16th, 24th, 29th), 1976 (up to 
230, 16th, 18th, 24th) and 1977 (up to 115, 2nd, 6th, 8th, 10th, 15th, 
16th) . A flock of 35 flew south across the channel between Shimoni and 
Wasin Island (near the Tanzania border) on 2 September 1976. The only 
records suggestive of northward passage are' a flock of 400 feeding over 
the main Mtwapa-Kilifi road on the evening of 9 April 1976 (A. J. Diamond 
and D.J. Pearson in litt.) and the April 1975 flocks at Sabaki. Into- 
wind passage in September is probably lower and more readily observed 
than northward passage in April. 


The migration pattern of the Madagscar Pratincole is now well establish- 
ed, breeding soon after arrival in Madagascar in October-November, and 
leaving the island in March, so that virtually the whole life-cycle is 

Madagascar Pratincole 97 

spent under favourable climatic conditions. Their stay in coastal Kenya 
spans the prolonged April-August wet season, which presxomably ensures a 
plentiful supply of aerial insects throughout (the Common Pratincole 
Glareola prati-ncota is a breeding visitor at Sabaki and Ngomeni, with 
all dated records falling within the extremes for the Madagascar Pratin- 
cole) . Africcin entry and exit points are not well established, though 
they are very likely in Tanzania, possibly leaving from a more northerly 
point. The prevailing south-easterly air-flow favours the northerly 
crossing in March-April but hinders the return crossing in September- 
October. In view of the above, it is curious that breeding should take 
place so soon after arrival, when birds might be expected to be exhaust- 
ed. Except for the sea-crossing, they no doxabt feed on passage, and the 
Comores are ideally positioned as an intermediate feeding area. 


I am grateful to those who supplied iinpublished records, and to Dr D.W. 

Snow for assistance with Somalia records. 


ANDREWS, P., GROVES, C.P. & HORNE, J. P.M. 1975. Ecology of the lower 
Tana River flood plain (Kenya) . Journal of the East Africa Natural 
History Society and National Museum 151: 1-31. 

ASH, J.S. 1977. Four species of birds new to Ethiopia and other notes. 
Bulletin of the British Ornithologists* Club 97: 4-9. 

BENSON, C.W. 1971. The occurrence of the Madagascar Pratincole in the 
South African sub-region, ibidem 91: 162-163. 

GRANVIK, H. 1923. Contributions to the knowledge of East African ornith- 
ology. Birds collected by the Swedish Mount Elgon Expedition, 1920. 
Journal fur Omithologie 71: 1-280. 

HARVEY, W.G. 1973. The Madagascar Pratincole Glareola ocularis in Tan- 
zania. EAMS Bulletin 1973: 115-116. 

1974. Further records of the Madagascar Pratincole Glareola 

ocularis near Dar. ibidem 1974: 71-72. 

KEITH, G.S., FORBES -WATSON, A.D. & TURNER, D.A. in press. The birds of 
Madagascar, Princeton University Press. 

MEADOWS, B.S. 1974. A June record of the Madagascar Pratincole on the 
Kenya coast. EAMS Bulletin 1974: 102-103. 

MOLTONI, E. 1941. Ucelli raccolti dal Sig. Ermanno Ciferri al Villaggio 
Duca Degli Abruzzi (Somalia) dalla fine di aprile alia fine di luglio 
1939. Rivista italiana di omitologia 11: 85-115. 

RAND, A.L. 1936. The distribution and habits of Madagascar birds. Bull- 
etin of the American Museum of Natural History 72: 143-499. 

van SOMEREN, V.G.L. 1933. The birds of Kenya and Uganda (part) . Journal 
East Africa and Uganda Natural History Society 49-50: 106-178. 

(Received 10 October 1977) 

98 Ethiopt^m nrigvants at NguHa 


G.C. Baakhurst & D.J. Pearson 


Three accounts of the nocturnal migration of Palaearctic birds over 
Ngulia, Tsavo National Park (West) have demonstrated the role played by 
the powerful north-facing game-viewing lights in attracting large numbers 
of birds, especially during misty or rainy nights when the moon is small 
or below the horizon (Pearson & Backhurst 1976, Backhurst & Pearson 1977, 
Britton & Britton 1977) . Pearson & Backhurst (1976) describe the site 
and the effects of the weather and moon on the numbers of birds grounded. 

Ringing studies at Ngulia have continued from December 1969 until the 
present (December 1977) with most cover during the months of November and 
December. During this time over 20 000 Palaearctic birds have been ring- 
ed (and many times this number seen 'down' , even on a single night) , 
while Ethiopian region species have been remarkable for the comparatively 
minute numbers involved. However, during our visits between October and 
April a wide variety of Ethiopian species has been enco\intered at night 
or at dawn in circumstances suggestive of attraction to the lights 
during nocturnal movement. Such occurrences are listed below, species by 
species. Some well-recognized intra-African migrants (for example 
Didric Cuckoo Chvysococcyx oapri-us and Wattled Starling Creatophora a-in- 
erea) which occur at Ngulia are omitted since there is no evidence that 
the lights have influenced their arrival. 

Observations were made during the hours of darkness (19.00 to 05.15hrs) 
unless otherwise stated. 


ARDEIDAE Sometimes during thick mist or rain species of heron are 
attracted to the lights : they often fly round calling for several hours 
before settling on the trees, buildings or ground. It is frequently 
impossible to identify these birds since often only vague shapes can be 
seen through the swirling mist. 

ARDEOLA RALLOIDES Squacco Heron One watched eating a Whitethroat 
Sylvia communis on 27 November 1975, three circling in the mist and 
later settling on trees 5 December 1975 and a larger party seen the next 
night. These could perhaps have been Palaearctic birds for the species 
is not listed by Moreau (1966) as an Ethiopian migrant. 

BUTORIDES STRIATUS Green-backed Heron Seen in the netting area just 
south of the Lodge at dawn on several dates in December 1975. Not re- 
corded as a migrant by Moreau (1966) or Elgood et at. (1973) . 

EGRETTA ALBA Great White Egret Occasionally seen: one on 13 December 
1973, twelve circling in the mist on 5 December 1976 finally landed in 
trees; a larger party was seen on the next night. Not a recorded migrant. 

NYCTICORAX NYCTICORAX Night Heron A flock circled for 2 h on 26 Dec- 
ember 1973, finally some landed in trees, others on the building and one 
was caught and ringed. These birds might have been Palaearctic (morph- 
ologically indistinguishable from Ethiopian birds) ; the movements of the 
African breeding population are unknown. 

Scopus 1: 98-103, December 1977 

Ethiopian migrants at Ngulia 99 

COTURNIX DELEGORGUEI Harlequin Quail The most numerous Ethiopian 
species, with records between early November and late January. Prone to 
entering the building at speed and often killed by hitting the walls. 
The numbers have fluctuated from year to year, most being recorded in 
1972/73 and in 1976/77; in 1976/77 maximum numbers were recorded from 
15-17 January. A well known migrant (Moreau 1966) , some of which stay 
to breed in the Ngulia area in January to February. 

GALLINULA ANGULATA Lesser Moorhen An adult caught in the Lodge at 
04.00 hrs on 30 December 1972, and another seen in the netting area just 
south of the Lodge late on 12 January 1973 are our only records. Benson 
et al, (1971) and Elgood et al. (1973) both regard it as a migrant. 

LIMNOCORAX FLAVIROSTRIS Black Crake One caught in the Lodge at 03.30 
hrs 24 December 1976 is the sole record. Not recorded as a migrant but 
the fact that the species appears in newly-formed swampy places after 
rain demonstrates that it is subject to at least local movements. 

TURNIX SYLVATICA Button Quail Nineteen have been caught or found dead 
in the Lodge at night between 6 November (1977) and 1 January (1974) , one 
also occurred inside on the evening of 12 April 1977 (Britton & Britton 
1977) . Weights have ranged between 32 and 52 g, but this may be due to 
variation in size of males and females, females being larger, rather than 
to deposition of fat. Not recorded as a migrant by Benson et at. (1971) 
although Elgood et at. (1973) record one flying into a lighted room at 
night in Nigeria on 1 June. 

OEllA CAPENSIS Namaqua Dove An adult male caught in the Lodge on 17 
December 1974, and another on 17 January 1977 are our only night records, 
although odd birds have been seen in the netting area occasionally. A 
known migrant in southern and west Africa although not mentioned by 
Moreau (1966). 

STREPTOPELIA SENEGALENSIS Laughing Dove Often seen at night in the 
trees outside the Lodge and apparently arriving through the mist; eight 
have been caught between early November and mid-January in or near the 
building at night. This species is known to be abundant in certain areas 
end then to disappear for some months (Jackson 1938) . 

CLAMATOR JACOBINUS Black and White Cuckoo Recorded from early November 
to mid- January; sometimes seen and heard at night, when a few have been 
caught. Most captures have been made after dawn when as many as twenty 
have been present in the netting area. Both adults and juveniles have 
been caught, most undergoing a somewhat random wing-moult, although two 
adults on 8 December 1974 were immaculate, with fresh remiges. All the 
Black and White Cuckoos handled had white or buffish underparts; most 
were presumably moving south after breeding north of the equator, but 
individuals of Indian origin could also have been involved (Friedmann 
1964, Moreau 1966) . 


CLAMATOR LEVAILLANTII Levaillant's Cuckoo Neither species has been 
encountered at night, although both have been seen occasionally in the 
netting area at dawn in November {gtandarius only) , December and January. 
The Great Spotted Cuckoo is Palaearctic as well as Ethiopian but, accord- 
ing to Moreau (1972) , Palaearctic birds probably do not cross the equator. 
Both are known intra-African migrants (Benson et at. 1971) . 

100 Ethiojpian migrants at NguHa 

CAPRIMULGIDAE On clear nights no more than the occasional nightjar is 
usually to be seen. During misty conditions, however, especially when 
the cloud base is 3-10 m above the ground, scores of nightjars have often 
been noted concentrated near the lights during November and December. 
The small Caprimulgus donatdsoni is usually prominent. During early and 
mid-November most of the 'large' nightjars caught have proved to be 
C. europaeus^ but towards the end of the year these are outnumbered by 
various Ethiopian species. 

CAPRIMULGUS CLARUS Slender-tailed Nightjar One caught on 23 November 

1974 and another on 7 November 1977. 

CAPRIMULGUS DONALDSONI Donaldson-Smith's Nightjar Usually prominent, 
often outnumbering the larger species, October- January, when a maximum 
of twelve have been ringed on one night. These birds are usually under- 
going active wing-moult. Also noted between February and April. 

CAPRIMULGUS FRAENATUS Dusky Nightjar At times the predominent larger 
Ethiopian nightjar; caught on various occasions, sometimes several in a 
night, between early November and mid- January. Usually in active wing- 

CAPRIMULGUS INORNATUS Plain Nightjar At times the predominent large 
nightjar, outnumbering europaeus and fvaenatus. Records are from early 
November to mid-December. 

CAPRIMULGUS NUBICUS Nubian Nightjar One caught 13 December 1974 and 
another 14 December 1976 are our only records. 

APUS AEQUATORIALIS Mottled Swift One found clinging to a wall in the 
Lodge during heavy rain on 4 January 1973 is the only night record al- 
though the species is sometimes seen feeding round the eastern side of 
the Lodge in the afternoon. Not known to be a migrant although it wand- 
ers over considerable distances. 

HALCYON LEUCOCEPHALA Grey-headed Kingfisher A well known intra- 
African migrant (Moreau 1966) with two recent ringing recoveries from 
Ethiopia to Kenya (Ash 1976) . Three have been caught inside the Lodge 

(29 November 1975, 29 November 1976, 8 December 1975) while others have 
been seen just outside at dawn on 14 November 1977, 15 November 1974 and 

1 December 1975. 

EREMOPTERIX LEUCOTIS Chestnut-backed Sparrow Lark No night records 
but one caught at 06.30 hrs in the bush near the Lodge on 13 December 

1975 suggests arrival in the night. Suspected to exhibit some regular 
seasonal movement by Benson et al. (1971) . 

MIRAFRA CANTILLANS Singing Bush Lark One juvenile caught and ringed 
on 6 December 1972. Recorded as a migrant in northern Nigeria (Elgood 
et al. 1973) . 

MIRAFRA PULPA Friedmann's Bush Lark Two records from the Lodge (12 
November 1974 and 2 December 1972) of a very rarely recorded species now 
known to be a visitor to Tsavo (East) (Lack 1977) . 

CAMPEPHAGA PHOENICEA FLAVA Black Cuckoo-Shrike No night records but 
three caught shortly after dawn (5 November, 24 November, and 13 Janu- 
ary) may indicate arrival during the night; other examples of this well 
known migrant (Britton 1973) have been seen near the Lodge. 

Ethiopian migrants at Ngulia 101 

EMBERIZA, POLIOPLEURA Somali Golden-breasted Bxinting An adult caught 
on 18 November 1977 is the only night record although others have been 
netted in the bushes shortly after dawn. Not a recorded migrant. 

MALACONOTUS SULFUREOPECTUS Sulphur-breasted Bush Shrike Never seen at 
night, but two have been caught in the bushes just south of the Lodge 
shortly after dawn, on 15 November 1974 and 28 November 1975. Listed as 
a migrant by Moreau (1966) . 

MALACONOTUS VIRIDIS QUADRICOLOR Four-coloured Bush Shrike An immature 
female taken just after dawn in the bushes on 9 December 1973 had prob- 
ably arrived in the mist during the night. Not recorded as a migrant. 

TMETOTHILACUS TENELLUS Golden Pipit Now known to wander considerably 
in addition to making local movements (Taylor 1906, Brooke & Irwin 1972). 
In most years, especially 1971 and 1972/73, several were caught inside 
the building, even as early in the night as 23.30 hrs, between early 
November and mid- January. Others have been seen or netted shortly after 
dawn in the bushes. 

BATIS MINOR Black-headed Puff-back Flycatcher Two caught in the bushes 
soon after dawn on 1 December 1976 with large numbers of Palaearctic 
migrants . 

BATIS PERKEO Pygmy Puff -back Flycatcher One caught in the bush just 
after dawn on 3 December 1975. Neither of these Batis species are 
known migrants. 

TERPSIPHONE VIRIDIS Paradise Flycatcher One outside and one inside the 
Lodge, respectively, 20 November 1977 and 27 November 1975 are the only 
night records; in addition, three have been caught and a few others seen 
in mid and late November just after dawn. A well known migrant. 

ACROCEPHALUS BAETICATUS African Reed Warbler No night records, but 
two caught in the bushes shortly after dawn together with Palaearctic 
migrants on 17 and 26 December 1973 are likely to have arrived during the 
night. Both were judged to be cinnamomeus and are our only records from 
the area. The nominate race is a known migrant in southern Africa. 


Under misty or rainy conditions with little moon, the lights of Ngulia 
Safari Lodge often attract vast numbers of Palaearctic migrants which 
settle in the few trees and bushes, on the ground and on the building 
itself. Compared with these falls, which sometimes exceed 100 000, the 
number of Ethiopian birds attracted is exceedingly and strikingly small; 
the reasons for this are unknown but there are three possible explanat- 
ions: Ngulia has not been visited in all months of the year; it is poss- 
ible, therefore, that if favourable weather conditions occurred between 
May and September (when the Lodge has not been visited) , Ethiopian 
species might be encountered in larger numbers. A second explanation is 
that the numbers of Ethiopian birds moving at night in the Ngulia area 
is indeed minute. A third possibility is that, if more Ethiopian species 
are in fact moving at night, they are not attracted to the lights. For 
example, frequently the Palaearctic Tree Pipits Anthus trivialis and, to 
a lesser extent. Yellow Wagtails Motaoilla flava are heard calling 
throughout the night yet the numbers of these two species grounded are 
interestingly very small indeed. Thus there are specific differences in 

102 Ethio-pian migrants at NguHa 

the effects the lights have on Palaearctic birds which could well apply 
to Ethiopian forms as well. The magnitude of the movement of Ethiopian 
species in the area will only be determined by observations (including 
radar studies) continuing throughout a whole year. 

Elgood et at. (1973) define migration as a regular seasonal change in 
the "centre of gravij:y" of the distribution of a species. The present 
evidence suggests that some species encountered are making regular 
migrations every year, although the timing of these is not usually as 
precise as it is with the Palaearctic birds. The Harlequin Quail is an 
example of this type. Other species, such as the Grey-headed Kingfisher 
and the Paradise Flycatcher, have occurred over the years always with- 
in a three-week period, yet in minute numbers. These species in partic- 
ular are known long-distance migrants - the apparent precision of the 
timing of the Ngulia records may be real or caused by chance - further 
observations will help to answer this question. 

Some species are likely to be making small-scale wanderings, but it is 
interesting that they should make these forays at night. One would 
expect diurnal species, unless undergoing a true migration, to be inact- 
ive during the hours of darkness. The fact that many of these birds are 
often in active wing-moult reinforces the view that theirs is a more or 
less local movement rather than true migration. Water and waterside 
birds, even if they are not regarded as migrants, will move from place to 
place to occupy newly created habitat; when a pool or swamp is formed 
after rain water birds move in almost immediately; that some of these 
travel at night is not surprising especially in view of the fact that 
closely related long-distance migrant species migrate nocturnally. 

Most of the Ethiopian birds caught at Ngulia are lean, although rhe 
Harlequin Quails are invariably in excellent condition. This lack of 
visible fat suggests that the birds involved have not been grounded 
during an extensive migration although it is not impossible that some nay 
have travelled considerable distances before reaching Ngulia. 

Little enough is known about the migrations of Ethiopian birds. How- 
ever, Ngulia observations serve to demonstrate that a number of species, 
albeit in small numbers, are on the move at night between late October 
and April. Visits to the Lodge from May to September will, in time, 
show whether there are other months of the year when Ethiopian migration 
is more marked. 


We would like to thank E.G. Goss, Warden of Tsavo National Park (West) 
for allowing us to ring birds at Ngulia. Grateful thanks are due also 
to the other ringers who have taken part in operations at the Lodge and 
to the various managers who have made our visits possible and who have 
helped in so many ways. 


ASH, J.S. 1976. Bird-ringing in Ethiopia report No. 5 1969-1975. Tech- 
nical report No. 1 ^ Medical Ecology Division^ U.S. Naval Medical 
Research Unit No. 5^ 1-17. 

BACKHURST, G.C. & PEARSON, D.J. 1977. Southward migration at Ngulia, 
Tsavo, Kenya 1976/77. Scopus 1: 12-17. 

Ethiopian migrants at Ngulia 103 

BENSON, C.W. , BROOKE, R.K. , DOWSETT, R.J. & IRWIN, M.P.S. 1971. The 
birds of Zambia, London: Collins. 

BRITTON, P.L. 1973. Seasonal movements of the black cuckoo-shrikes Cam- 
pephaga phoeniaea and C, flava^ especially in eastern Africa. Bulletin 
of the British Ornithologists' Club 93: 41-48. 

& BRITTON, H.A. 1977. An April fall of Palaearctic migrants 

at Ngulia. Scopus 1: 109-111. 

BROOKE, R.K. & IRWIN, M.P.S. 1972. A second southern record of the pipit 

Tmetothylaous tenelXvs, Bulletin of the British Ornithologists ' 
Club 92: 91. 

ELGOOD, J.H., FRY, C.H. & DOWSETT, R..J. 1973. African migrants in 
Nigeria. Ibis 115: 1-45, 375-411. 

FRIEDMANN, H. 1964. Evolutionary trends in the genus Clcanator. 
Smithsonian misoellaneous Collections 146 (4) . 

LACK, P.C. 1977. The status of Friedmann's Bush-Lark Mirafra pulpa, 
Scopus 1: 34-39. 

PEARSON, D.J. & BACKHURST, G.C. 1976. The southward migration of Palae- 
arctic birds over Ngulia, Kenya. Ibis 118: 78-105. 

TAYLOR, L.E. 1906. Notes on certain birds hitherto unrecorded from the 
Transvaal. Journal of the South African Ornithologists' Union 

2: 39-43. 

(Received 4 December 1977) 


D,E, Pomeroy 

Vultures have been studied extensively in the Serengeti area (Kruuk 
1967, Houston 1974a, b, 1975) but there are few published data on their 
numbeis elsewhere, nor of the numbers of Marabous Leptoptilos crumen- 
iferus attending them. Between 1970 and 1977 I observed and counted 21 
vulture parties in various parts of East Africa (Table 1) . All parties 
were at carcasses of large mammals, three being cattle and the remainder 
wild species, ranging from antelopes to elephants. By far the commonest 
vultures were the two griffons. Gyps africanus and G. rueppellii which 
together contributed more than 90 per cent, of the total. The two 
species were not always separated in the field but, where separate counts 
were made, the White-backed G. africanus was invariably more numerous. 
Rlippell's only made up a fifth of the Gyps vultures in Serengeti 
(Houston 1975); it is less common in Kenya (cf. Brown 1972, Table 6) and 
is rare in most parts of Uganda. Lappet- faced Torgos tracheliotus and 
Hooded Vultures Neorosyrtes monaohus were also frequent at vulture 
parties, but White-headed Trigonooeps occipitalis and Egyptian Vultures 
Neophron percnopterus were uncommon in vulture parties. Twelve of the 
parties counted numbered 60 to 120 birds; Houston (1974b) showed that the 
numbers were related to the amount of food available. 

Scopus 1: 103-106, December 1977 


Marabous and vultures 


Mean numbers of vultures and Marabous at 21 vulture parties in East 
Africa. The standard errors of the means are given in brackets 

Number of parties 
counted in: 





% of all parties 

at which species 

was present 






Griffon vultures 





Lappet- faced Vulture 





White-headed Vulture 




Egyptian Vulture 



Hooded Vulture 


4.1 (1.4) 



Total vultures 





♦The Kenyan observations were made at Nairobi National Park, Samburu, 
Email and Simba. The Uganda parties were in Kidepo Valley National Park, 
Kabalega Falls National Park and in Kigezi District (one each) , and the 
remainder in Rwenzori National Park. The Tanzanian observations were 
all in Serengeti National Park. (The data used to compile Fig. 1 apply 
to an unusual situation and are excluded from Tables 1 and 2.) 

Brown (1972, Tables 6 and 8) counted birds of prey whilst driving some 
4200 km along roads in drier areas of Kenya together with parts of Uganda 
which included Rwenzori and Kabalega Falls National Parks. A comparison 
of the numbers of birds seen by Brown on his transects and the numbers 
reported here at carcasses shows that the proportions of the various 
species were very different (Table 2; P« 0.001). Although the two Gyps 


Numbers of vultures observed in two East African studies 

Brown 1 









Griffon spp. 




Lappet- faced 




















*0n a hypothesis of similar proportions to those observed by Brown. 

Marabous and vultures 


species accoxinted for over three qucurters of the birds seen by Brown they 
were, however, less dominant in the countryside generally than at carcas- 
ses. Of the remaining species, the greater abundance of Hooded and Egyp- 
tian Vultures in Brown's counts probably reflects their association with 
hijman settlements (Houston 1975, Pomeroy 1973). 

In Serengeti, 77 per cent, of the vultures counted by Kruuk (1967) were 
griffons, and Houston (1974b) states that 88 per cent, of his vulture 
records were of griffons. Even the latter percentage is lower than that 
shown in Table 1 (PcQ.Ol) . The preponderance of griffon vultures seems 
to be universal in the grasslands of East Africa. 

Marabous were found at eight of the thirteen carcasses in Uganda and 
at all eight in Kenya and Tanzania. On average, vultures outnumbered 
Marabous by about 12:1. At vulture parties Marabous obtain almost all 
their food by theft from the vultures or by picking up scraps which would 
eventually be eaten by vultures. In this situation they can therefore be 
described as 'food parasites' because without the vultures they would 
obtain nothing, their beaks being totally unsuitable for obtaining food 
direct from a carcass. 

Besides Marabous, several other species frequent vulture parties, the 
most characteristic being Tawny Eagles Aquita rapax and Black Kites Mil- 
Vus migrans. Their numbers are usually small, however, and in terms of 
biomass their contribution to the disposal of large mammal carcasses is 

The effects of a very large supply of food were observed in September 
1971 when thirteen drowned wildebeest Connoohaetes taurinus were dragg- 
ed from the Seronera River in Serengeti National Park for analysis of 
their stomach contents . The work began at 09 . 00 hrs and by the time the 
work on the carcasses was finished at 11.00 hrs, there were nearly 100 
vultures in the surrounding trees. Numbers increased rapidly to a peak 
of almost 400 in just under an hour (see Fig. 1) . 







° o o 


20 I 



— T— 




UOO 1500 
time of day 

—I — 



— I — 

Fig. 1 Numbers of Marabous (O) and vultures (%) at a large food source 

106 Marabous and vultures 

Later, some birds left, but arrivals continued until after 13.00 hrs. 

The carcasses were reduced to bones by 13.30 hrs. After that, most birds 

were resting although some continued pecking until about 17.30 hrs. 

The majority of the Marabous arrived an hour or so later than the vul- 
tures, their numbers reaching a peak of 24 some 1^ h later than the vul- 
ture peak (see Fig. 1) . The greatest numbers of the different species 
at any one time were: 80 Riippell's Griffon Vultures (at 11. 50 hrs), 270 
White-backed (at ll.SOhrs), 21 Lappet-faced (at 13.45hrs), 18 Hooded (at 
11. 10 hrs), two White-headed and one Egyptian at 12.00 and 13.35 hrs res- 

Schaller (1972) gives the average weight of a wildebeest as 108kg, and 
of this about 55 per cent, is edible by vultures (Houston pers. comm.). 
Marabous can consume 1.35kg in a day (Kahl 1965), and griffon vultures 
a similar amount (Houston 1976) . The total number of vultures feeding 
on the carcasses is likely, therefore, to have been at least 500, 
although not all of them were there at one time. 


I am grateful to David Houston for information and comments, and to 

D.J. Pearson for advice. Garth Seldon kindly drafted the figure. 


BROWN, L. 1972. Afvican hivds of prey. (2nd ed.) London: Collins. 

HOUSTON, D.C. 1974a. The role of griffon vultures Gyps africanus and 
Gyps rueppellii as scavengers. Journal of Zoology 172: 35-46. 

1974b. Food searching in griffon vultures. East African 

Wildlife Journal 12: 63-77. 

1975. Ecological isolation of African scavenging birds. 

Ardea 63: 55-64. 

1976. Breeding of the White-backed and Ruppell's Griffon 

Vultures, Gyps africanus and G. rueppellii. This 118: 14-40. 

KAHL, M.P. 1966. A contribution to the ecology of the Marabou Stork 
{Leptoptilos crumeniferus) in East Africa. Journal of Zoology 148: 

KRUUK, H. 1967. Competition for food between vultures in East Africa. 
Ardea 55: 172-193. 

POMEROY, D.E. 1973. The distribution and abundance of Marabou Storks in 
Uganda. East African Wildlife Journal 11: 227-240. 

SCHALLER, G.B. 1972. The Serengeti lion. Chicago and London: University 
of Chicago Press. 

D.E. Pomeroyj Department of Zoology ^ Kenyatta University ^ 
Box 43844^ Nairobi. 

(Received 18 June 1977, revised 9 August 1977) 

White-^nged Dove 107 




L,H. Brown 

The White-winged Dove is the least known of several similarly sized 
species of Streptopelia inhabiting East and North East Africa. The range 
is given by Mackworth-Praed & Grant (1957) as southern Abyssinia and the 
Juba River Valley in Italian Somaliland. However, it was not included 
in the checklist of Ethiopian birds (Urban & Brown 1971) because of 
uncertainties about its occurrence in Ethiopia. It has since been found 
by Ash et al. (1974) to be common in S. Harrar, Bale and Sidamo provinces 
close to rivers and associating with S. occpicota and S. decipiens. They 
found evidence of breeding but have not yet described the nest and eggs. 
According to Mackworth-Praed & Grant (1957) its nest is undescribed. 

At Gode, in the lower valley of the Webi Shebeli river in SE Ethiopia 
this species was found to be the commonest of small Stveptopeti-a doves 
between 1-4 February 1977. It appeared to replace the Mourning Dove 
S. decipiens in its general habits, being found in patches of vegetation 
and small irrigated areas near the river. The area, originally acacia 
woodland, has been much degraded by overgrazing, but the establishment 
of small irrigation schemes with planted windbreaks has provided new 
habitat in which the White-winged Dove was abundant. Probably it has 
always been present in the Webi Shebeli valley, but has passed un- 
noticed due to a lack of observers. 

A nest was found about 2.5m above ground in a Jerusalem Thorn Park- 
insonia aculeata near the guest-house of the Institute of Agricultural 
Research. It was the usual flimsy semi-transparent platform of loosely 
interlaced twigs and leaf -petioles, and contained two regular oval white 
eggs, similar to those of other small doves. The eggs were not taken as 
I had no means of preserving them, so I observed the habits of the bird 
for varying periods each day. As a result, I can add a little to what 
is known of this species. 

The nest was about 15cm across, too small to accommodate the sitting 
bird, whose tail projected. Both sexes incubated, and both sat very 
tight, allowing human approach to within Im without leaving, no doubt 
because they were well accustomed to human beings. On the occasions 
when they did leave, sitting birds were back on the eggs within lOmin. 
One bird, perhaps the female, sat more than the other, incubating all 
one night and up to 08.40 hrs the following morning. However, the sexes 
could not be distinguished on short acquaintance. 

At nest reliefs the arriving bird alighted some 20 m from the nest and 
then approached the nest by short flights from perch to perch. It utter- 
ed the characteristic call, unlike that of any other StreptopeZia 
species, and was answered by the sitting bird. The call is described by 
Mackworth-Praed & Grant (1957) as a deep guttural ' ooo-coo-coo ' but this 
is misleading. It is actually a deep-toned 'kok-kooorrr-kok-kooorrr' 
repeated rapidly about fifteen times. A low, crooning 'crooo-crooo- 
orooo-orooo' similar in tone is also uttered. The sitting bird called 
more often at nest relief than the relieving bird, which, as it moved 
nearer the nest, raised and lowered the tail exposing the pale-coloured 

Scopus 1: 107-109, December 1977 

108 White-winged Dove 

outer tail feathers. When the relief bird was within a few metres of the 
nest the sitting bird flew away directly and, in the cases observed, out 
of sight, then the relief bird flew into the nest tree and moved to the 
nest quietly. On 3 February nest reliefs occurred at 16.10 and 17.50 hrs 
and the bird remained sitting until 08.40 hrs the following morning. 

Many observers find small Stveptopetia species resident in East and 
north-eastern Africa hard to distinguish, and standard works are not very 
helpful on the subject. In practice, a combination of calls and pliomage 
characters, and notably eye-colour, makes field identification easy. I 
give below field distinctions applicable to all species set out as an 
extended field key, including salient features of habitat, pliomage, voice 
and eye-colour. The European Turtle Dove S. turtur is omitted as it is 
not known to breed in East or north-eastern Africa, though recorded as a 
winter visitor commonly in Ethiopia, and occasionally as far south as 
Kenya (Home & Short 1977) . 

Field key to Streptopelia species breeding in E and NE Africa 

1 With a black collar on the hind-neck, sometimes edged white 3 

Without a black collar on the hind-neck 2 

2 With black patches on the sides of the neck, rufous edges to upper 
wing-coverts; larger, darker; habitat montane forests etc. Call a 

deep crooning ' co-coooorrr-coooorrr-cooorr ' lugens 

Smaller, with blackish spots forming a collar on the breast, 

bluish wings; savannas and cultivation; call a chuckling 
'co-coro-kuku' senegalensis 

3 Larger, tips of outer tail feathers grey, eye dark red; call 
'coo-coo-cu-roo-coo-coo' repeated; alighting call a buzzing 

'tzzzz ' . . . semitorquata 

Smaller, paler, white tips to outer tail feathers 4 

4 Eye dark or black 5 

Eye yellowish brown or yellow 6 

5 Call a hurried 'cor-ca-du^ cor-ca-du'} darker grey; savannas N and NW 

Africa to W Ethiopia and Uganda vinacea 

Call a high-pitched 'kuk-krooor-kukj kuk-krooor-kuk* ; alighting, 

a high-pitched buzzing 'tzz-rrrr-rrr^ -, savannas, S and E Africa to 

NE Ethiopia. Paler grey capicola 

Call a rather high-pitched 'kuk-kurrrwooo' -, much paler, black collar 
narrow; semi-arid areas to deserts. NE Ethiopia and Somalia, deoaooto 

6 Calls varied; ' kroook-currroooo ' and ' kuk-krooo-ooo ' repeated, deep- 
toned; alighting 'krraaauw' ; paler, prefers riverine habitat. Eye 

yellow, surrounded by red ring decipiens 

Eye surrounded by white ring of feathers resembling Zosterops spp. 
Some white visible at bend of wing. Call, rapidly repeated 'kok- 
koorrr-kok-koorrr ' } also crooning 'crooo-crooo' repeated. Darker, 
more uniform grey than decipiens reichenowi 

In view of the fact that the eye of the White-winged Dove is surrounded 
by a white ring of tiny feathers (a very conspicuous and distinctive 
field mark) , whereas the white edging at the bend of the wing is not 
conspicuous in the field, it might be more suitable to call this species 
the White-2"2^n^ed rather than White-winged Dove. When taking flight the 

White-winged Dove 109 

white outer webs of the greater and median wing-coverts become more con- 
spicuous but this is not a very easy field distinction. Knowledge of the 
calls will enable an observer to distinguish all species of Streptopetia 
without seeing any of them? and, combined with eye-colour and habitat 
preferences, no real difficulty in identification should be e:q>erienced. 


ASH, J.S., ERARD, C. & PREVOST, J. 1974. Statut et distribution de Strep- 
topetia reiohenowi en Ethiopie. L'Oiseau et Revue frangaise d'Omith- 
ologie 44: 340-345. 

HORNE, J. P.M. & SHORT, L.L. 1977. First record of the Turtle Dove Strep- 
topetia turtur in Kenya. Scopus 1: 50. 

URBAN, E.K. & BROWN, L.H. 1971. A ohecktist of the birds of Ethiopia. 
Addis Ababa: Haile Selassie I University Press. 

L,H. Brown J Box 249 16 j Karen, Nairobi, 

(Received 20 October 1977) 



The phenomenal falls of southward-moving Palaearctic night migrants at 
Ngulia Safari Lodge in Tsavo National Park (West) each November-December 
are well documented (Pearson & Backhurst 1976b, Backhurst & Pearson 
1977). Pearson & Backhurst (1976b) suggested that local topography prob- 
ably accounts for the virtual absence of groiinded migrants on return 
passage in April, when migrants which have cleared the ridge are presum- 
ably too high to be attracted to the game-viewing lights at Ngulia Lodge 
below. As is the case elsewhere in the Tsavo region, the November- 
December short rains are typically heavier and more reliable than the 
long rains of March-May, so that low cloud and prolonged rain at night 
are uncommon in April. In addition, winds in April are often strong, 
which tend to disperse any mist which may have formed. 

Passerine migration at ground level often bears little relation to the 
situation overhead. This difference is striking at Ngulia in November- 
December, but even more so in April, when observations since 1971 have 
revealed very small numbers of migrants compared with routine April con- 
centrations in central and western Kenya (Pearson & Backhurst 1976a, 
pers. obs.). Apart from a scattering of Red-backed Shrikes* and a few 
Lesser Grey Shrikes Lanius minor, passerine movement in April is typic- 
ally evidenced by a few Willow Warblers and Whi te throats , occasional 
Sprossers and Garden Warblers, a few Sedge Warblers Aarooephatus sohoen- 
obaenus and an occasional Marsh Warbler later in the month. Hitherto, 
only in 1973, late in April, has am appreciable density of warblers 
(Whitethroats , Sedge, Willow and Marsh Warblers) been encountered in the 
Ngulia hills in spring (D.J. Pearson in titt.) , 

A single Cuckoo Cuoutus oanorus was the only Palaearctic migrant seen 

♦Scientific names of most species are given in Table 1. 

Saomui 1: lOQ-111. n«c«>mh<>r 1Q77 

no Short oommuniaaHons 

on an evening drive from the Lodge on 12 April 1977. After a severe 
storm that evening, a Button Quail Tumix sylvatica came to the Lodge 
bar at 18.50 hrs, but no Palaearctic migrants were noted until 00.30 hrs 
on 13 April when two warblers were seen in the Lodge grounds. During a 
dry but overcast period between 04.00 and 05.30 hrs, migrants were com- 
ing to the lights in hundreds, though only a Rufous Bush Chat and a 
Whitethroat were caught in the building. Heavy rain from 05.20 to 06.15 
hrs prevented us from setting mist-nets outside the Lodge, and by the 
time they were set birds were present in thousands throughout the trapp- 
ing area, in numbers unsurpassed on any of our November-December visits. 
We caught 99 birds by 08.30 hrs, and the ringing total of 143 (Table 1) 
does not fairly relect the size of the fall. Previous April visits had 
led us to expect few migrants so we were not well prepared, and our 
efforts were further hampered by heavy rain and very strong winds. The 
most noteworthy features of this total are the dominance of Whitethroats 
and the virtual absence of Marsh Warblers (these are the two commonest 
migrants in November-December) . 


Numbers of Palaearctic night migrants ringed at Ngulia on 13 April 1977 

Species Number 

Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio 7 

Basra Reed Warbler Acrocephalus griseldis 1 

Marsh Warbler Acrocephalus palustris 2 

Upcher's Warbler Hippolais languida . . 5 

Olivaceous Warbler Hippolais pallida 2 

Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus 9 

Garden Warbler Sylvia borin 3 

Whitethroat Sylvia communis 91 

Barred Warbler Sylvia nisoria 1 

Rufous Bush Chat Cercotrichas galactotes 1 

Sprosser Luscinia luscinia 19 

Nightingalo Luscinia megarhynchos africana 1 

Rock Thrush Montioola saxatilis 1 

The majority of birds of all species showed visible fat in the tracheal 
pit (often fully covered or full) . Weights in grams (mean ± standard 
deviation) of the most numerous species were: Whitethroat, 16.7 + 2.21, 
72 birds J Sprosser, 28.2 ± 2.37, 19 birds. Mean weights are greater than 
any sample means given by Pearson & Backhurst (1976b) for November- 
January. Thus birds involved in this exceptional April fall were prob- 
ably headed for destinations hundreds of kilometres north of Ngulia. 

Assisted by D.J. Pearson we were able to work the area more thoroughly 
on 14 April but caught only two migrants and recaptured none of the birds 
ringed the previous day. We doubt that much feeding took place in the 
appalling weather conditions of 13 April, but all or most of these 
grounded birds evidently resumed their migration, taking advantage of a 
clear night. Reports from Lodge staff suggest that siibstantial falls 
took place in very wet conditions later in April 1977. It seems that 
falls of migrants occur at Ngulia in April only in appalling weather 
conditions whereas in November-December falls are commonplace on dark 
nights with only light rain or low mist. 

Short aorrmmioations/Notices 111 


We would like to thank E.G. Goss, Warden of Tsavo National Park (West), 
for allowing us to catch and ring at the Lodge. We are also grateful for 
the invaluable support and assistance given by B. Fimister, the Lodge 
Manager, and Mrs V. Fimister; and to Dr D.J. Pearson for his encourage- 
ment and assistance during the preparation of this note. 


BACKHURST, G.C. & PEARSON, D.J. 1977. Southward migration at Ngulia, 
Tsavo, Kenya 1976/77. Scopus 1: 12-17. 

PEARSON, D.J. & BACKHURST, G.C. 1976a. Palaearctic passerine migration at 
Kariobangi, Nairobi. EANHS Bulletin 1976: 23-28. 

1976b. The southward migration of Palae- 
arctic birds over Ngulia, Kenya. Ibis 118: 78-105. 
P.L Britton & H.A. Britton. 

Received 11 October 1977. 



The first of these reports will cover the period 1 July 1976 to 31 Dec- 
ember 1977 (earlier unpxiblished records of interest will, of course, be 
accepted) . Details of Palaearctic records required were given in Scopus 
1: 55 and they should be sent to B.S. Meadows, Box 30521, Nairobi as soon 
as possible please. A number of records have been published in the 
EANHS Bulletin which update the information given by Backhurst, Britton 
& Mann (1973) in the Society's Journal 140: 1-38. These, in conjunction 
with Backhurst et al. (1973) and the two-part compilation of records 
which has been p\ablished in Scopus (1: 39-43, 78-81) will cover most of 
the more unusual Palaearctic birds; the references are given here for 
convenience. EAMS Bulletin 1973: 84, 86, 94-96, 111-114. 

1974: 2-4, 17-18, 51, 95, 103-4, 112, 163. 

1975: 24-30, 65, 83, 87-88. 

1976: 21-22, 52-61. 
Regarding Ethiopian (and oceanic) species, we are rather concerned about 
the small number of records received. We realize, however, that the 
problem here is primarily the selection of records suitable for the 
report. The need for dates, numbers and localities for established 
intra-African migrants like Abdim's Stork Cioonia ahdinrti and White- 
throated Bee-eater Merops albicollis is obvious. There is a still great- 
er need, however, for dated records of species believed to be regular 
migrants, at least locally ( like the Knob-billed Goose Sarkidiomis 
melanota and Grey-headed Kingfisher Halcyon leucocephala) , especially 
from resident observers making regular observations in one site who are 
able to comment on the presence or absence of such birds over a partic- 
ular period. Locality records which are believed to represent an exten- 
sion of known range should also be siibmitted. These need not be of rare 
or localized species; for example, in coastal Kenya a Red-chested Cuckoo 
Cuoulus solitarius is a more interesting and valuable record than a 
Thick-billed Cuckoo Paccycocoyx auderherti. Records at exceptionally 

112 Notices 

high or low altitudes are also of interest; for example. Bronze Sionbird 
Neotarinia kilimensis would be exceptional at Kisumu yet it is common at 
nearby Maseno, only 350 m higher. 

In the absence of a definitive 'checklist' of E.A. birds, observers 
will find it difficult to select records suitable for this report. Hope- 
fully the production of this 'list' in 1978 will lead to a spate of data 
on all species, by drawing attention to the many and varied gaps in our 
knowledge. Meanwhile, please send in too much rather than too little - 
for inclusion in the 'checklist' itself as well as the bird report. All 
records (other than of Palaearctics) to D.A. Turner, Box 48019, Nairobi 

All nest record cards received by January 1978 will be incorporated in 
this annual report; see Hazel Britton's note on the Nest Record Scheme in 
the January/February 1978 EANHS Bulletin. 


May we remind you that 1978 subscriptions are now due. Please send them 
to D.A. Turner, Scopus a/c. Box 48019, Nairobi or, if paying by bank 
transfer, to D.A.Turner, Scopus a/c. No. 2852601, Barclays International 
Ltd., Market Branch, Box 30018, Nairobi, Kenya. 


The annual overseas subscription (including airmail postage) to this 
Society is K.8.00. Cheques and Bankers' Orders sould be payable to the 
Zambian Ornithological Society and sent to the Secretary, ZOS, Box 3944, 
Lusaka, Zambia. The following back numbers of the Bulletin Zamhian 
Omithologioal Society are available from the above address at K.1.00 
each: Vol 1 Nos. 1, 2; Vol 2 No. 1; Vol 3 No. 2; Vol 4 Nos. 1, 2; 
Vol 5 Nos. 1, 2; Vol 6 Nos 1, 2; Vol 7 Nos. 1, 2; Vol 8 Nos. 1,2. 


Tony Diamond is studying breeding and guiding behaviour in honeyguides , 
particularly the Black-throated Indioatov indicator^ and is anxious to 
find sites whera these birds are regularly observable. If anyone knows 
of such sites, preferably within 2-3 h drive of Nairobi, could they 
please get in touch with him? Address: Dr A.W. Diamond, Department of 
Zoology, University of Nairobi, Box 30197, Nairobi. 


The following alterations to R. J. Dowsett ' s paper 'The distribution of 
some falcons and plovers in East Africa', Scopus 1: 73-78, were received 
after the issue had been printed. They are: 

Vanellus spinosus: delete first sentence, substitute 'The most southerly 
specimen from Tanzania is apparently one from Morogoro (Friedmann 1930) . 

Delete 'but it is for this.' and substitute 'J.S.S. Beesley {in 

litt. ) informs me that he and Vesey-Fitzgerald saw two in the Momba delta 
area in November 1953.' 

Add Vanellus tectus Black-head Plover White (1965) does not record this 
species from Tanzania, but J.S.S. Beesley {in litt.) saw five at Maserani 
Dam near Arusha on 29 August 1962. This would appear to be the first 
record for Tanzania. 


FORBES-WATSON, A.D. 1971. Skeleton checklist of East African birds. Nairobi 
{di:^licated) . = Forbes-Watson 1971. 

HALL, B.P. & MOREAU, R.E. 1970. An atlas of speciation in African Passerine birds. 
London: British Museian (Nat. Hist.). = Hall & Moreau 1970. 

JACKS(»J, F.J. 1938. The birds of Kenya Colony and the Uganda Protectorate. 3 vols. 
London: Gurney & Jackson. = Jackson 1938 

MACKWORTH-PRAED, C.W. & GRANT, c.H.B. 1957 & 1960. African handbook of birds. 

Series I, vols 1 & 2. Birds of eastern and north eastern Africa. 2nd Edition. 
London: Longmans Green & Co. = Mackworth-Praed & Grant 1957 and/or 1960. 

MOREAU, R.E. 1966. The bird faunas of Africa and its islands. London: Academic 
Press. = Moreau 1966. 

1972. The Palaearctic-African bird migration systems. London: 

Academic Press. = Moreau 1972. 

WHITE, C.M.N. 1960. A check list of the Ethiopian Muscicapidae (Sylviinae) Part I 
Occasional papers of the National Museums of Southern Rhodesia 3 (24B) : 399- 
430. = White 1960. 

1961. A revised check list of African broadbills. .. .etc. Lusaka: 

Government Printer. = White 1961. 

1962a. A check list of the Ethiopian Muscicapidae (Sylviinae) Parts 

II and III. Occasional papers of the National Museums of Southern Rhodesia 
3 (26B) : 653-738. = White 1962a. 

1962b. A revised check list of African shrikes .... etc . Lusaka: 

Goveniment Printer. = White 1962b. 

1963. A revised check list of African flycatchers etc. Lusaka: 

Government Printer. = White 1963. 

1965. A revised check list of African Non-Passerine birds. Lusaka: 

Government Printer. = White 1965. 

WILLIAMS, J.G. 1967. A field guide to the National Parks of East Africa. London: 
Collins. = Williams 1967. 

19^9, A field guide to ~the birds of East and Central Africa. 

4th impression, London: Collins. = Williams 1969. 


D.J. PEARSON. The first year moult of the Common Sandpiper 

Tvinga hy-poleuoos in Kenya 89 

P.L 3RITT0N. The Madagascar Pratincole Glareola ocularis in Africa . 94 

G.C. 3ACKHURST & D.J. PEARSON. Ethiopian region birds attracted to 

the lights of Ngulia Safari Lodge, Kenya .... 98 

D.E. POMEROY. Marabous associated with vulture parties in 

East Africa 103 

L.H. BROWN. The White-winged Dove Stveptopel-ta reichenovri in SE 
Ethiopia, comparisons with other species, and a field key 
for identification 107 

Short conTiUnications 

P.L. BRITTON & H.A. BRITTON. An April fall of Palaearctic 

migrants at Ngulia 109 


The annual bird report ^. -.- . . Ill 

Subscriptions for 1978 112 

Zambian Ornithological Society - . . . 112 

Request for information - honeyguides 112 

kdd&ndjjm 112 

Vvlnted in Kenya by BEEZEE^ Box 30652^ Nairobi 



A quarterly ornithological publication 
of the East Africa Natural History Society 

Volume 1(5) November 1978 30 shillings 


Soopus is published five times a year by ttre East Africa Natural History 
Society's Ornithological Siib-Committee. Subscriptions are payable to the Hon. 
Treasurer (and Secretary) , D.A. Turner, Scopus a/c. Box 48019, Nairobi, Kenya, 
at the following rates: 

1. For East African members of the E.A.N.H.S., Kenya Shs. 50.00. 

2. For members of the E.A.N.H.S. abroad, a) surface mail: E4.00 or US $7.00, 
b) air mail: £5.50 or US $10.00. 

3. For non-members of the E.A.N.H.S. in East Africa, Kenya Shs. 75. 00. 

4. For non-members of the E.A.N.H.S. abroad, a) surface mail: £5.50 or 
US $10.00 b) air mail, £7.00 or US$13.00. 

Those wishing to remit by bank transfer should do so to D.A. Turner, Scopus a/c. 
No. 2852601, Barclays International Ltd., Market Branch, Box 30018, Nairobi. 

All material for Soopus y including papers, short communications, and records of 
birds, should be sent to the Chairman of the Ornithological Sub-Committee, 
Dr D.J. Pearson, Department of Biochemistry, University of Nairobi, Box 30197, 
Nairobi. 'Notes for Contributors' are given below. 

Other members of the Sub-Committee are: G.C. Backhurst (Editor of Saopus and 
Ringing Organizer - Nairobi) , P.L. Britton (Mombasa) , Mrs Hazel A. Britton (Nest 
Record Scheme Organizer - Mombasa) , Dr Margaret Carswell (Kampala) , Dr A.W. Dia- 
mond (Nairobi), A.D. Forbes-Watson (Oxford), Dr J.D. Gerhart (Nairobi), 
Dr K.M. Howell (Dar es Salaam), C.F. Mann (London), B.S. Meadows (Nairobi), 
J.F. Reynolds (Nairobi) and D.K. Richards (Dodoma) . 


Soopus welcomes original contributions in English on $11 aspects of the ornith- 
ology of eastern Africa pertinent to Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Contributions 
will be assessed by the Sub-Committee and by independent referees. The m?.terial 
published in Soopus will normally be divided into 'papers' and 'short communi- 
cations', the letter will usually be less than two iSc?opMS-pages in length. 

Contributions should be typed in double spacing on one side of the paper only, 
with wide margins all round, and they should be submittied in duplicate. 
Exceptionally, clear hand-written MSS will be considered but these too should 
be sent in duplicate. Both English and scientific names of birds should be given, 
when the species is first mentioned, thereafter only one should be used. 
Normally, authorities for taxa should not be given. 

Illustrations should be on bristol board, good quality white paper or tracing 
paper, in line - i.e. black on white, and should not be Icirger than 18 x 29 cm. 
Lettering (in black) will be the responsibility of the author and should be 
done neatly in Letraset or stencils j due allowance should be made for reduction 
to the final printed size. Each illustration should be numbered (Pig.l, etc.) 
and provided with a legend typed on a separate sheet of paper. Photographs will 
be considered if they are eibsolutely necessary 

Tables, which should also be numbered, should appear in the typescript. Metric 
units should be used. If non-metric units were used in the original observation 
or experiment, the approximate metric equivalent should be given in brackets. 

Any references cited should be listed at the end of the contribution following 
the form used in this issue. Homes of periodioals should be given in full. 
A number of works, which are cited frequently, should not be listed under 

Continued inside back cover 

Scopus 1 (5) September 1978 



The East Africa Natural History Society was founded in 1909 and will 
celebrate its 70th Anniversary in March of next year. It is one of the 
oldest societies of any kind in East Africa. 

The Society has a proud record of publishing scientific material since 
its early days and the Journal of the East Africa Natural History Society 
and National Museum^ which still continues to appear regularly, carries 
the names of many outstanding and world- renowned naturalists who have 
contributed to it throughout its existence. 

In August 1970 the Society enlarged its monthly Newsletter (renamed 
the EANHS Bulletin in January 1971) : this publication, now bi-monthly, 
acts as a medium for popular - but scientifically accurate - articles, 
book reviews, field notes and observations, letters, programmes of 
activities, and other notes and notices. 

The extensive and varied avifauna of East Africa has always attracted 
the interest of both amateur and professional ornithologists, and the 
identification and study of birds form a very important part of the 
Society's activities. It was therefore decided that a journal, devoted 
exclusively to birds, be published. The Ornithological Sub-Committee 
was suitably expanded and the first quarterly issue of Scopus appeared 
in March 1977. 

I think that it is important to emphasize that all the work of the 
Society is carried out on a voluntary basis and it is the devotion and 
dedication of the members of its Executive Committee and others which 
makes it the lively organization it is today. This applies equally to 
the members of the Ornithological Sub-Committee and that is why I wish 
to take this opportunity to thank them and congratulate them on the 
publication of this first annual East African Bird Report for 1977. 
We look forward to many more issues in the future. 

JoIma l^oLirfcw^J^ 

Chairman, East Africa Natural History Society 

114 East African Bird Report 197? 


The East African Bird Report should, in future, provide an annual summary 
of interesting records, a regular review of the Society's Nest Record 
Scheme, and a brief accoxant of bird ringing. Accoxonts of ornithological 
work in progress and of literature relevent to the region are also 
planned as regular features. 

Records which extend knowledge of distribution or status within East 
Africa will be published after consideration by the ornithological sub- 
committee. These will include all records of scarce or little known 
species, records of range extension in species of limited distribution, 
reports of unusual numbers and records of unusual dates and localities 
for migrants. In the case of Palaearctic species, guidelines as to records 
required for the Report were set out in Scopus 1: 54-55. The Society's 
Birds of East Africa^ to be published during 1979, should provide a 
future basis for evaluating records of Ethiopian species. Requests for 
records of selected commoner species will be made from time to time, and 
the results of such enquiries reviewed in the Report. 

Although future Reports will deal primarily with records for the cal- 
ender year concerned, this first pxoblication covers the period July 1976 
to December 1977. The reason for this is that the sub-committee pxiblished 
a backlog of reports of Palaearctics {Scopus 1: 39-43, 78-81), which ex- 
tended the record for Kenya and Tanzania to June 1976, and it seemed 
desirable to provide as much continuity as possible. 

The Society organizes two major ornithological schemes, the Ringing 
Scheme and the Nest Record Scheme. Full reports on the first of these 
have appeared regularly in the Journal of the East Africa Natural History 
Society and National Museum^ and it is intended that only a brief review 
of ringing activity should appear in the Bird Report. On the other hand, 
a regular review of the Nest Record Scheme has been lacking in the past, 
and the Report provides a new opportunity of pviblishing an annual summ- 
ary of new records acquired. This happens to be the ideal time to initi- 
ate such summaries, since the analysis of East African breeding records 
shortly to be published in the Society's Journal takes into account 
material collected by the scheme up to June 1976. 

Most of the material for this Report was received from Kenya, but we 
would hope in future to hear from more Tanzania and Uganda based observers. 
There were a number of additions to the East African avifauna as well as 
interesting distributional records, particularly of Palaearctic migrants, 
while work in the Kakamega, Sokoke and Usambara forest areas clarified 
the status of some scarce or endangered species. 

After a succession of dry years in East Africa, the period covered by 
this report has been one of excessive rainfall, and has, as a result, 
been ornithologically noteworthy in several respects. Prolonged rains 
late in 1976 were followed in 1977 by the wettest April-May that most 
areas had experienced for 16 years, during which extensive flooding 
occurred in western and central Kenya, and along the lower Tana River. 
Rain was again unusually heavy during November and December 1977, with 
considerable effects on waterbird numbers and distribution. 


After the April-May rains dams and ponds were unusually full, and some 
large floodlakes were created in west and central Kenya. In the Rift 
Valley temporary lakes near Magadi were populated by duck and many 
hundreds of Red- knobbed Coots Fulioa cristata^ but more noteworthy was 

East Afriean Bird Report 1977 115 

the floodlcike southwest of Ngong which provided a breeding site for 
considerable numbers of Spoonbills Ptatdlea atba^ cormorants, ducks and 
grebes during June - September. Elsewhere, Little Grebes Taohybaptus 
ruficoZlis in particular were very quick to populate these. new waters. 
On the coast, many herons were reported on floods between Malindi and 
Lamu from May - September 1977. The Garsen heronry was unvisited owing to 
its inaccessibility, but it was suspected that successful breeding took 
place in the area. 

Seed-eating passerines appeared in large numbers and variety in central 
Kenya during May - July 1977, but were not particularly in evidence, and 
did not appear to be breeding at this time in the Tsavo area, where the 
April rains had also been well above normal. The southeastern Kenyan 
bush country also had an above-normal growth of vegetation during 
December - January 1976/77, and this, by contrast, resulted in a partic- 
ularly good breeding season for such post-rains visitors as Harlequin 
Quail Cotumix delegourgue-t and White-winged Widow Bird Eupleotes albo- 
notatuSy whilst an abnormally marked influx of Ethiopian passerines in 
cuid around Tsavo West, including many Fire-fronted Bishops Eupleotes 
diadematus and Singing Bush Larks M-irafra cantillans, was noted. 


Amongst Palaearctic visitors, ducks and waders were greatly affected by 
changing water levels. Wintering duck numbers at traditional sites in the 
west and central Kenyan highlands, and also at Lake Turkana, were very 
much lower in late 1977 than during the winter of 1976/77. This probably 
reflected a greater dispersal within Kenya, with more open water available^ 
but with unusually high rainfall north of the Kenyan border late in 1977 
there was perhaps also less tendancy for duck to migrate south of Ethi- 
opia. At Naivasha, Bogoria and Ferguson's Gulf, rising water levels 
covered muddy lake edges, and wader numbers were greatly reduced late in 
1977 compared with the previous year. At Nakuru, on the other hand, the 
advancing leikeshore once again covered the mud flats and flooded into 
bordering vegetation, recreating shallow pools attractive to waders. 
Here, Ruff Philomaohus pugnax numbers were higher during December 1977 
than they had been for several years. 

During 1976/77 there were increased niimbers of reports from Kenya of 
seldom recorded Palaearctic raptors. Amongst these the Imperial Eagles 
Aquila hetiaca of late 1977 perhaps deserve mention. Passerine migration 
was observed in the usual Kenyan localities. Concentrations dominated by 
Sprossers Lusoinia lusoinia, Whitethroats Sylvia corrmunis and Marsh 
Warblers Aorooephalus palustris were recorded late in both years under 
consideration in inland southeast Kenya, not only at Ngulia but also in 
the Kibwezi and Voi areas, and in great density in the Taita foothills. 
Southward movement was marked in 1976 as far west as Thika and Nairobi, 
but was little in evidence in the central highlands in 1977. April pass- 
age euround Nairobi featured the usual spring warblers and shrikes, and 
despite the phenomenal rainfall numbers were in no way remarkable. A 
large fall of Whitethroats took place at the Ngulia Lodge lights during 
a heavy storm on the night of 12/13 April, but elsewhere in Tsavo and 
adjacent bush country relatively few migrants were in evidence. In con- 
trast to the spring of 1976, the coastal strip also experienced little in 
the way of warbler and Lusoinia spp. during April 1977. 


Increased attention is being paid to oceanic species by ornithologists 

116 East African Bird Report 1977 

resident at the coast and by others visiting the area. Most noteworthy 
were records of two species new to the Ethiopian region fauna: the Red- 
footed Booby Suta sula and the Lesser Noddy Anous tenuirostriSj both 
breeding in the Malagasy region. 


The sub-committee is very aware that this General Review, and the Report 
itself, has a strong Kenya bias. We hope that in the future observers 
resident in, or visitors to, Tanzania and Uganda will make a point of 
sending in their records for consideration for the Bird Report. Lastly, 
the sub-committee would like to draw attention to the fact that Scopus 
welcomes contributions "on all aspects of the ornithology of eastern 
Africa pertinent to Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda' (see Scopus 1: 55 and 
inside the front cover of this issue). Thus, in the context of the Bird 
Report, records from neighbouring countries close to the borders of the 
three East African states will be most welcome. 

D.J. Pearsorij Chairman^ E.A.N. U.S. Ornithological Sub-comndttee 


As mentioned above, this section of the Bird Report covers the period 
July 1976 to December 1977; in future it will deal with records from one 
calendar year although records from previous years will be published if 
they have come to light. 

The records given below have resulted from requests published in Scopus 
(1: 54-55, 111-112). In addition all issues of the National Museums of 
Kenya J Department of Ornithology j Newsletter relevant to the period under 
review have been scrutinized. When records have appeared in the Newsletter 
falling londer categories covered by the Bird Report, the sub-committee 
has written to the observers concerned asking for supporting evidence or 
more precise details of the observations, in accordance with the instruct- 
ions of the Editor of the Newsletter^ as given, for example, in its 
second issue. Newsletter records for which fully satisfactory details 
have been supplied are included below, whereas in some cases substantiat- 
ion has unfortunately not been forthcoming, hence the absence of these 
records from the list which follows. 

For ease of reference the species report is presented in two parts, 
first the Ethiopian region birds and oceanics, second the Palaearctics. 



Podiceps cristatus Great Crested Grebe: many. Lakes Lygarja and Masek in 

the eastern Serengeti, Tanzania Apr-Jun 1977 (AG). Many, Rift Valley 

swamps behind the Ngong Hills Jun-Oct 1977 (DKR) . 
Podiceps nigricollis Black-necked Grebe: recorded Lake Bogoria Jan 1977 

(HP) , few pairs Lake Naivasha Feb-Mar 1977 (BSM) , large numbers Lakes 

East Afv^oan Bird Report 1977 117 

Lygarja and Masek, eastern Serengeti, Tanzania Apr-Jiine 1977 (AG) , 
many Rift Valley swamps behind the Ngong Hills, Jun-Aug with a few 
remaining through to Dec 1977 (JFR) , 1 Lake Nakuru 20 Dec 1977 (HAB, 
PLB) and a pair on Lake Paradise, Marsabit late Dec 1977 (HP) . 

PROCELLARIIDAE Shearwaters and petrels 

Puffinus Iherminievi Audubon's Shearwater: 1 off Shimoni 29 Jan 1977 and 
at least 60 off Kilifi 12 Feb 1977 (PLB) . 


[Oceanttes oceanious Wilson's Storm Petrel: descriptions of small storm 
petrels in flocks off Watamu (AD & PSD) and Shimoni (PH) in mid-Nov 
1977 probably relate to this species. The occurrence in our waters of 
any other small, square- tailed, black-bellied, white-riomped storm petrel 
is highly unlikely. 7 


Phaethon Zepturus White-tailed Tropicbird: 1 near Latham Island, Tanzania 
2 Apr 1977 (ELC) . 

SULIDAE Boobies 

Suta daotytatra Masked Booby: records away from Latham Island are as 

follows: 1 found dead Watamu Aug 1976 (PSD) and 1 seen off Watamu Sep 

1976 (GR) . 

Suta leucogaster Brown Booby: 1 off Kilifi 12 Feb 1977 (PLB) . 

Sula suta Red- footed Booby: 1 off Kilifi 24 Oct 1976 (PLB) - first African 

record, see Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 97: 54-56. 


Ardeola idae Madagascar Squacco Heron: a few Lake Jipe 3-4 Apr 1977 (DKR) 
and 1 in Nairobi National Park 17 Sep 1977 (WJP) . 

Egretta ardesaioa Black Heron: regular at Lake Jipe (DAT) , 200+ at Lake 
Bilisa 25 Feb 1977 (PLB, PD) and seen regularly in small numbers in 
Mida Creek (HAB, PLB) . 

Ixohrychus minutus ssp. Little Bittern: 1 University of Dar es Salaam 
campus, Tanzania 22 Apr 1977 (KH) and a pair in the Thika area along- 
side two of the next species, Jun-Jly 1977 (WJP). 

Ixohrychus sturmii Dwarf Bittern: pair Thika area Jun-Jly 1977 (WJP) . 

BALAENICIPITIDAE Whale-headed Stork 

Balaeniceps rex Whale-headed Stork: 1-2 seen occasionally in the Entebbe 
area, Uganda during the year (MC) . All records welcomed. 


Anastomus lamelligerus Open-bill Stork: about 20 Samburu Game Reserve 

23 Nov 1976 (JADC) and 1 in the Nairobi National Park/Athi River area 

Mar-Jun 1977 (BSM) . 
Ciaonia episaopus Woolly-necked Stork: recorded from Nairobi National 

Park Apr-Jly 1976 and Aug-Oct 1977 (several observers) . Generally 

uncommon in the Nairobi area. 

THRESKIORNITHIDAE Ibises and spoonbills 

Bostryahia olivacea Green Ibis: 2-3 seen fairly regularly at dawn and 
dusk around the Met. Station (3000m) above Naro Moru, Mt Kenya (DAT). 

ANATIDAE Ducks and geese 

A notable influx of ducks in the Nairobi area (especially White-backed 
Duck and African Pochard Netta erythrophthalma) after the exceptionally 

118 East African Bird Report 1977 

heavy rains during 1977. See also under the Nest Record Scheme Report. 
In addition, the creation of a large area of open water at the north- 
eastern end of the Enkongo Narok Swamp in Amboseli National Park in 
1976 provided excellent habitat for many species of duck which are now 
resident in the area. For a full list of all water birds recorded see 
EANHS Bulletin May/ June 1977. 

Anas sparsa Black Duck: a few pairs still remaining in the East and West 
Usambaras in northeastern Tanzania despite widespread habitat destruct- 
ion and hunting (DAT) - 

Dendrocygna hicolor Fulvous Tree Duck: larger concentrations noted were: 
75+ Aruba Dam, Tsavo National Park (East) 12 Feb 1977 (DAT) , 40+ Rift 
Valley swamps behind the Ngong Hills 21 Aug 1977 (DKR) , 20 Kisumu 
oxidation ponds 12 Aug 1977 and 200 there 23 Dec 1977 (BSM) , 200+ Mara- 
gua, near Muran'ga 8 Sep 1977 (DAT) . Also noted as 'fairly common' at 
Lake Jipe in all months (DAT) . 

Oxyura maocoa Maccoa Duck: a few birds resident in the Limuru area during 
most of 1977. Also present in the Rift Valley Swamps behind the Ngong 
Hills Jly-Sep 1977 with a maximum of 40 on 28 Aug (several observers) . 
A few at Lake Nakuru throughout the year (DAT) and at Lake Paradise, 
Marsabit during Dec (HP) . 

Thalassomis leuconotus White-backed Duck: resident in some numbers at 
Lake Jipe throughout the year (DAT) . 

ACCIPITRIDAE Birds of prey 

Gypaetus barbatus Lammergeyer: reported from Hell's Gate gorge, Naivasha, 
Telekei Valley, Mt Kenya and the Gol Mts in northeastern Serengeti, 
Tanzania. All records away from Hell's Gate are most welcome. 

Gypohierax angolensis Palm-nut Vulture: reported from Watamu, Shimba Hills, 
Shimoni, Lake Jipe and Mzima Springs (many observers) . Resident and 
fairly common around Amani in the East Usambaras, northeastern Tanzan- 
ia (DAT) . 

Acoipiter ovampensis Ovampo Sparrowhawk: a malanistic pair and a juvenile 
in Nairobi National Park 3 Aug 1976 (WJP) . 

Aviceda cuouloides Cuckoo Falcon: evidently only a migrant to the coast 
occurring from May to Oct (HAB, PLB) . All records welcomed. 

Butaster rufipennis Grasshopper Buzzard: formerly a fairly common and 
widespread bird in Tsavo, from Mtito Andei to Buchuma, occurring each 
year from November through to February. However, in recent years 
numbers have decreased considerably and, as such, we welcome all rec- 
ords of this intra-African migrant. 

Chelictinia riccourii Swallow- tailed Kite: 2 at the Lake Hotel, Naivasha 
20 Oct 1976 (DEGB, GCB, GZ) . Small numbers recorded from Jly-Dec 1977 
in northern areas from Lake Turkana to Mt Kulal and South Horr and 
occasional sightings from the Mt Suswa area of the Kedong Valley. Also 
recorded from north of Lake Baringo in July 1976 and from Meru National 
Park in June 1977 (DAT) . 

Ciroaetus cinerascens Banded Harrier Eagle: 1-2 most months along the 
Thika River (V7JP) , otherwise very scarce in the Nairobi area. All rec- 
ords east of the Rift Valley welcomed. 

Ciroaetus fasciolatus Southern Banded Harrier Eagle: all Kenya records 
outside the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest area welcomed. In Tanzania, common at 
Amani while in the West Usambaras at Mazumbai (1400 m) one was seen in 
June 1977 (DAT) . 

Hieraaetus dubius Ayres' Hawk Eagle: odd records from the Nairobi area 

East African Bird Report 1977 119 

indicate that 1-2 pairs are resident (several observers) . Occasional 
records during 1977 from the Sokoke Forest (PLB) . Two pairs resident 
at Mazumbai Forest Reserve, West Usanibaras, northeast Tanzania May-Jun 
1977 (DAT) . All records of this species welcomed. 
Maoheirhamphus alcinus Bat Hawk: uncommon throughout its range. Records 
received from Mt Elgon, Moscho (Kisii district) , Lake Baringo, Nairobi, 
Malindi, Mida Creek and Mtwapa Creek. All records welcomed. 


Faloo alopex Fox Kestrel: 5 between Marsabit and Koobi Fora Aug 1976 and 

4 between Loiyengalani and Koobi Fora Oct 1976 
Faloo ardosiaceus Grey Kestrel: 1 near the Satellite Tracking Station, 

Kedong Valley 26 Jun 1977 (DAT) . All records in or east of the Rift 

Valley welcomed. 
Faloo ohioquera Red-necked Falcon: 1 Amboseli National Park 5 Nov 1977 

(DKR) . 
Faloo fasoiinuoha Taita Falcon: 1 on 1 Mar 1977, Gol Mts, northeastern 

Serengeti, Tanzania (AG) and another 12 July 1977, Ngulia Safari Camp, 

Tsavo National Park (West) (HP) . 

RALLIDAE Rails and crakes 

Crex egregia African Crake: many at Lake Baringo Jly-Aug 1977 (ADF-W, 

DAT) and 1 in Nairobi National Park 7 Sep 1977 (DAT) . 
Gallinula angulata Lesser Moorhen: a few pairs in the Thika area Dec 1976 

and Jun-Jly 1977 (WJP) and a pair at Kabete in Jun 1977 on a newly 

filled pond (WPHD) . 
Porphyrio alleni Allen's Gallinule: many hundreds at Lake Baringo Jly- 
Aug 1977 (ADF-W, DAT) , all vanishing shortly afterwards. Up to 30 at 

a small dam at Bamburi Apr-Sep 1977 (PLB) . Regular in small numbers at 

Lakes Naivasha and Jipe (DAT) . 
Porzana pusilla Lesser Spotted Crake: 1-3 from a pond in the Thika area 

Jan-Mar 1977 (WJP) . 
Sarothrura pulohra White-spotted Crake: a few pairs regular during 1976/ 

77 in swampy parts of Kakamega Forest (DAT) and also recorded from 

similar habitat at Nandi Hills on 5 Aug 1976 (JS) . 
Sarothrura rufa Red-chested Crake: 1 in a swamp , Nandi Hills 5 Aug 1976 



Podioa senegalensis Finfoot: recorded frequently at Hippo Pools, Nairobi 
National Park and occasionally from Mzima Springs, Tsavo National Park 

(West) by several observers. Also recorded at Amani, Tanzania Aug 1977 


OTITIDAE Bustards 

Neotis denhami Jackson's Bustard: formerly fairly common and widespread 
in parts of the Mara Game Reserve but numbers have decreased consider- 
ably in recent years. 1 near Itong, Masai Mara 10 Mar 1977 (DAT) and 
1-2 occasionally seen around the Gol Kopjies, eastern Serengeti, Tan- 
zania (AG) . 


Microparra oapensis Lesser Jacana: reported from Moi's Bridge in Sep and 
Dec 1976 (JS) , a few pairs present throughout the year at Lake Jipe 
(DAT) , reported from Thika 14-16 Nov 1976 (WJP) and 1 seen on Crescent 
Island, Lake Naivasha 19 Dec 1977 (BSM) . 

120 East African Bird Report 1977 


Rostratula henghalensis Painted Snipe: recorded from Nairobi National 
Park in Apr, May, Jly and Nov 1977 (several observers) and several 
at the Rift Valley Swamps behind the Ngong Hills Jly 1977 (DKR) . 


VaneZlus orassirostris Long- toed Lapwing: recorded from Lake Naivasha in 

Jun and Sep 1977 (BSM) . All Kenya records away from the west and the 

lower Tana River welcomed. 


Dramas ardeola Crab Plover: 75+ normally present at Mida Creek Sep-Apr, 

dropping to 10-20 from May-Aug. Elsewhere along the coast only in very 

small n\imbers each Oct cind Nov (PLB) . 

GLAREOLIDAE Coursers and pratincoles 

Cursorius oinotus Heuglin's Courser: large numbers in Tsavo National Park 

(East and West) and especially so in the Lake Jipe area, Dec 1977 (DAT) . 
Cursorius cursor Cream-coloured Courser: widely distributed in Tsavo 

National Park (East) south to the Sala Gate, Sep 1977 (DAT) . 
GlareoZa ocularis Madagascar Pratincole: present at the Sabaki River mouth 

from 4 Apr to 30 Sep 1977 with a maximum of c. 3500 on 12 Aug (PIB) . 

Also see Scopus 1: 94-97. 

LARIDAE Gulls and terns 

In addition to the following records, many others are included in Scopus 

1: 29-34. 

Anous stolidus Common Noddy: 40-50 with Roseate Sterna dougaZlii and 
Sooty Terns on Kisite Island 7 Aug 1976; no proof of breeding, but 
suggestive (HAB, PLB) . 

Anous tenuirostris Lesser Noddy: an addition to the Kenya and African 
avifaunas. All records are by PLB unless stated otherwise and are from 
his paper in Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 91 i 54-56. 
110-220, 5 Aug to 28 Sep 1976, Ras Iwetine (1 collected 31 Aug 1976) 
and 1 seen there on 2 Dec 1976. At least 50, 27 Oct 1976 at Ziwayu 
Island (R. Haller) . At least 20, including one found dead, 10 Dec 1976 
Kisite Island and PH had seen dozens at sea in the area between Sep 
and Dec 1976. The sole 1977 record is of 2 seen at Ras Iwetine on 29 
Jly (HAB) . 

Chlidonias hybrida Whiskered Tern: birds building nests during Jun and to 
late Jly 1977 though whether breeding occurred is not known (JRB) . 

Sterna anaethetus Bridled Tern: up to 12 at Ras Iwetine 30 Aug - 9 Sep 
1976 and 1 there on 4 Nov 1976 (HAB, PLB) . 

Sterna fusoata Sooty Tern: at least 100 on Kisite Island with breeding 
Roseate Terns, 7 Aug 1976, but no proof that the Sooties were breeding 
(HAB, PLB) . An immature at the Sabaki River mouth, 24 Sep 1977 (HAB, 


Rhynchops flavirostris African Skimmer: up to 10 Sabaki River mouth from 
17 Aug 1976 to 24 Feb 1977 and 3 there on 15 Aug 1977 (PLB) ; 2 Thika 
area 23 Nov 1976 (WJP) , a few Lake Naivasha 28 Dec 1976 (DAT) , 8-10 at 
Lake Nakuru 25 Sep 1977 (NBM) , 1 Nairobi National Park 13 Nov 1977 (JFR) 
and a few Lake Jipe 15-18 Nov (ALA) and late' Dec 1977 (JFR). 


Columba arquatrix Olive Pigeon: a few over Mazxambai, West Usambaras May - 

East African Bird Report 1977 121 

June 1977, but oddly much more numerous at Amani, East Usambaras (at 
only 1000m) Jly-Aug 1977 (DAT). 


Bubo poensis vosseleri Nduk Eagle Owl: a juvenile found dead on the road 
near Amani, East Usambaras in 1977 and sent to the Department of Zool- 
ogy, University of Dar es Salaam (KH) . 

Gtauoidium capense Barred Owlet: resident in Brachystegia in Arabuko- 
Sokoke Forest (PLB, HAD) . 1-2 pairs recorded at Iltilal at the base of 
the Chyulu Hills (DAT) . 

Glaucidium tephronotum Red-chested Owlet: reported as locally common in 
the northwestern Mau Forest during Nov 1976 (JFMH, LLS) , a considerable 
extension of range. 1 Kakamega Forest 28 Feb 1977 (WJP) . 

Otus ireneae Sokoke Scops Owl: approximately 7 pairs/km^ on red magarini 
sands in the Arabuko- Sokoke Forest (PLB) . 

Scotopelia peli Pel's Fishing Owl: 7 sightings by the 1976 Tana River 

Expedition, mainly south of Garsen (see EANHS Bulletin March-April 1977). 
1 on the Tana River in Meru National Park 30 Aug 1976 (DKR) and 1 on 
the Mara River near Governor's Camp during Jly and Aug 1977 (DAT) . 


Caprimulgus donaldsoni Donaldson- Smith's Nightjar: 1 in heavy moult near 

Kilifi 1 Jly 1977 (MR) , not previously recorded from the coast. 
Caprimulgus inomatus Plain Nightjar: 1 Chiromo campus, Nairobi 29 Apr 

1977 (AWD) and 1 Ngulia Lodge 7 Nov 1977 (DJP) . 
Caprimulgus nubicus Nubian Nightjar: 1 Ngulia Lodge 14 Dec 1976 (DJP). 
Caprimulgus poliocephalus Usambara Nightjar: a few pairs (race guttifer) 

recorded at forest edge at Mazumbai, West Usambaras May-Jun 1977 (DAT) . 


Neafrapus boehmi Bohm's Spinetail: occurs in Sokoke Forest (mainly Brachy- 
stegia) throughout the year (PLB) . Several seen around Bushwhackers' 
Camp 19-20 Nov 1977 (DEP) . 

Rhaphidura sabini Sabine's Spinetail: 2 over Mt Elgon Lodge, near Kitale 
22 Jly 1977 (BSM) . 

Telecanthura ussheri Mottle-throated Spinetail: regular in the Arabuko- 
Sokoke Forest throughout the year, but less common than N. boehmi (PLB). 
Recorded from both East and West Usambaras May-Aug 1911 , though not 
previously recorded from the West (DAT) . 

ALCEDINIDAE Kingfishers 

Ispidina picta VyiyniY Kingfisher: a migrant to the Kenya coast from Apr 
to Sep. Retraps of ringed birds show that the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest is 
a wintering area for southern birds (race natalensis) and that these 
birds return to the same winter quarters (HAB, PLB) . Also recorded from 
Dar es Salaam and Amani during Jly 1977 (DAT, CE) . 

MEROPIDAE Bee-eaters 

Merops nubicus Carmine Bee-eater: a bird of the southern race nubicoides 

reported from the Kedong Valley near Kijabe, 10 Jly 1977 
Merops revoilii Somali Bee-eater: 4 Manyani, Tsavo East, 30 Nov 1976 (RJD). 

All records from south of the Galana River welcomed. 


Indicator meliphilus Pallid Honeyguide: 1 Pugu Hills near Dar es Salaam 

17 Jly 1977 (DAT, JDG, KH) and 1 Shimba Hills, south of Mombasa, 19 Nov 

(ALA) . 

122 East African Bird Report 1977 

Indicator narokensis Kilimanjaro Honeyguide: collected near Fourteen 
Falls, Thika district June 1976. (J. Mwaki , for National Museum). 

PICIDAE Woodpeckers 

Mesopicos griseocephalus Olive Woodpecker: common at Mazumbai, West Usam- 
baras May-Jun 1977 but scarce at Amani , East Usambaras Jly-Aug 1977 (DAT). 


Smithomis capensis African Broadbill: its occurrence in the West Usambaras 
(at Mazumbai) was confirmed Jun 1977 (DAT) . Heard occasionally at Amani 

during Jly and Aug 1977 (DAT, CE) . Records from central Kenya highlands 



Pitta angolensis African Pitta: extreme dates at the Kenya coast (several 
observers) are, 1976: 5 Jun - 11 Oct- 1977: 12 Jun - (no data). 


Mirafra cantitZans Singing Bush Lark: unusual influxes to Tsavo West 

(Mtito Andei - Ngulia) and on the Emali plains mid-late Jan 1977 after 

good rains. However, did not appear in numbers after equally good rains 

Nov-Dec 1977 (DJP) . 
Mirafra pulpa Friedmann's Bush Lark: few near Voi Safari Lodge Jan 1977 

(PCL) , see Scopus 1: 34-39. 


Hirundo griseopyga Grey-rumped Swallow: present throughout the year around 

Nakuru (DAT) and small numbers seen fairly frequently in the Ruaraka - 

Thika area (WJP) . 


Corvus spZendens Indian House Crow: Mombasa population spreading in recent 

years. Small numbers now at Kilifi and one seen at Malindi, Oct 1977 

(PLB, DJP) . 


Trichastoma pyrrhopterum Mountain Illadopsis: netting in Dec 1977 showed 

it to be more common in the Malaba Forest than in the nearby Kakamega 

Forest (AWD) . 
Turdoides aytmeri Scaly Chatterer: a party of 5-6 near Salt Lick Lodge, 

Tsavo West 19 Sep 1977 (DAT) . 
Turdoides hindei Hinde's Babbler: recorded from numerous localities in 

the Murang'a - Embu districts of central Kenya, mainly in small valleys 

around 1500m but sometimes in more open bush country. Inhabits bushy 

growth, often where the introduced Lantana is well established; occurs 

in small parties of 6-8 birds (WJP) . 

CAMPEPHAGIDAE Cuckoo- shrikes 

Coracina caesia Grey Cuckoo-shrike: common at Mazumbai, West Usambaras 
1350-1600m May-Jun 1977 and at Amani, 900-llOOm Jly-Aug 1977 (DAT). 


Andropadus gracilis Little Grey Greenbul: 1 netted Malaba Forest north of 

Kakamega in Dec 1977 (AWD) . 
Aruiropadus importunus Zanzibar Sombre Greenbul: examples of the race 

frieki recorded along the Thika river in Sep-Oct 1976 (WJP) . 
Andropadus milanoensis Stripe-cheecked Greenbul: Kenya records away from 

the Taita and Chyulu Hills welcomed. Common at Mazumbai, West Usambaras 


East African Bird Report 1977 123 

May-Jun 1977 (DAT) and at Amani Jly-Sep 1977 (DAT, CE) . 
Phyllastrephus aerviniventris Grey-olive Greenbul: resident in small 

nioinbers in riverine forest along the Thika river and at Foxirteen Falls, 
occurring on or near the ground in parties of 7-8 birds (VKJP) . 

TURDIDAE Thrushes 

Alethe fuellebomi white-chested Alethe: conmon at Mazumbai and Amani 
May-Aug 1977 (DAT) . 
I Dryociohloides montanus Usambara Alethe: 1 in deep shaded forest at Maz- 
umbai (1650m) 27 May 1977 (DAT). 

Modulatrix orostruthus Dappled Mountain Spot- throat: a total of only 4 
netted at Amani Jly-Sep 1977 (CE) . 

Modulatrix stiotigula Spot- throat: very common at Mazumbai May-Jun 1977 
but decidedly uncommon at Amani Jly-Sep 1977 (DAT) . 

Monticola rufocinerea Little Rock Thrush: occasional records from Hell's 
Gate gorge, Naivasha (several observers) . A few Mt Sebachi, Samburu 
District 27-28 Dec 1976 (HP) . All records welcomed. 

Neocossyphus rufus Red- tailed Ant Thrush: fairly common at Amani Jly- 
Sep 1977 (DAT, CE) . 

Sheppardia sharpei Sharpe's Akalat: fairly common at both Maziombai and 
Amani May-Aug 1977 (DAT) . Not previously recorded from the West Usam- 
baras (Mazumbai) . 

Turdus fisoheri Spotted Ground Thrush: extreme dates at the Kenya coast 
from several observers were, 1976: (17 Aug) - 13 Oct. 1977: 24 Apr - 
24 Sep. Also see Scopus 2: 11-17. 

Turdus gumeyi Orange Ground Thrush: fairly common at Amani Jly-Sep 1977 
(DAT, CE) . 


Apatis moreaui Long-billed Apalis: small numbers present at Amani Jly- 
Sep 1977 (DAT, CE) . 

Cisticola bodessa Boran Cisticola: several around the Isiolo turn-off, 
Timau-Meru road, early Dec 1976 (RJD) . See Scopus 2: 29-33. 

Eremomela scotops Green-capped Eremomela: 5-6 near Fourteen Falls, Thika 
district 29 Jan 1977 (ADF-W, DAT) . 

Macrosphenus kretschmeri Kretschmer's Longbill: locally common at Mazumbai 
May-Jun 1977 (DAT) . 

Orthotonus metopias Red-capped Forest Warbler: very common at Mazumbai 
May-Jun 1977 (DAT) . All records welcomed. 


Bias musicus Black and White Flycatcher: one pair seen on occasions at 
Mazumbai at 1350 m May-Jun 1977 (DAT) and a few others seen at Amani 
(900 m) Aug-Sep 1977 (CE) . 

I MOTACILLIDAE Wagtails and Pipits 

I Anthus sokokensis Sokoke Pipit: recorded regularly in small numbers in 
suitable habitat in the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest (HAB, PLB) . 


Laniarius fuetlebomi Fiilleborn's Black Boubou: common at Mazumbai May- 
Jun 1977 (DAT) . 

Laniarius ruficeps Red-naped Bush Shrike: single bird seen 6km east of 
Nguni on the Thika-Garissa road 12 Mar 1977 (DJP) . 

Malaconotus multicolor Black-fronted Bush Shrike: records of the race 
nigrifrons as follows: common at Mazumbai and Amani May-Sep 1977 (DAT, 

124 East African Bird Report 1977 

CE) and recorded near Nandi Hills, western Kenya Dec 1977 (JADC, PLB) . 
All Kenya records welcomed. 


Corvinella melanoleuca Magpie Shrike: 2-3 south of the Telek River, Mara 
Game Reserve 21 Aug 1977 (PB) . 

STURNIDAE Starlings 

Spreo shelleyi Shelley's Starling: several flocks on Galana Ranch 13 Nov 
1976 and odd birds near Voi Nov-Dec 1976 (PCL) . 


Anthreptes pallidigaster Amani Sunbird: fairly common in suitable habitat 

in the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest (PLB) . Not uncommon at Amani Jly-Sep 1977, 

often in company with the next species (DAT, CE) . 
Anthreptes rubritorques Banded Green Sunbird: flock of 50+ seen daily at 

Muzumbai May-Jun 1977 (DAT) and also noted as fairly common at Amani 

Jly-Sep 1977 (DAT, CE) . 
Neotarinia hahessinioa Shining Sunbird: male at Lake Baringo 26 Aug 1977, 

probably at southern limit of range (VE) . All records welcomed - 


Anomatospiza imberhis Parasitic Weaver: a sporadic visitor in small num- 
bers between Feb and Jly 1977 to the Thika area, parasitizing Cistioota 
cantons. One netted Kabete, Mar 1977 (DEGB, JD, WPHD, DJP) . 

Eupleotes diadematus Fire-fronted Bishop: common and widespread through- 
out Tsavo West Dec 1976 - Jan 1977 following exceptionally heavy rains 
(DJP , GCB) . 

Plooeus golandi Clarke's Weaver: regular in the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest 
from Aug-Oct, plus a group of about 20 on 7 Dec 1976 (PLB). All dated 
records of this species requested. 

Ploceus olivaoeiceps Usambara Weaver: the race nicolli recorded occasion- 
ally at Mazumbai between 1350 and 1600m May-Jun 1977 (DAT). Otherwise 
known only from Amani (though no recent records) and the Ulugurus. All 
records welcomed. 


Estrilda atricapilla Black-headed Waxbill: 5-6 at 3300m on Mt Kenya, 

Sep 1976 (DAT) . 
Lonchura fringilloides Magpie Mannikin: a few at Amani Aug-Sep 1977 (CE) . 

All records welcomed. 
Mandigoa nitidula Green-backed Twin Spot: regular but uncommon at Sokoke 
(PLB) , a pair seen in the Karura Forest, Nairobi 20 Feb 1977 (WJP) and 

small numbers seen at Amani Jly-Sep 1977 (DAT, CE) . 
Spermophaga ruficapilla Red-headed Bluebill: small numbers netted at 

Amani Aug-Sep 1977 (CE) . 

FRINGILLIDAE Buntings and Finches 

Emberiza cabanisi Cabanis' Bunting: common at Amani Jly-Sep 1977 in open 
places (CE) . 

Linurgus olivaceus Oriole Finch: a few Kakamega Forest Station Oct 1976 
(DS) , small numbers at Mazumbai May-Jun 1977 (DAT) and a single female 
recorded at Amani 27 June 1977 (DAT, CE) . 

Serinus reichardi Stripe-breasted Seedeater: 1 on the Iten-Tambach escarp- 
ment 18 Dec 1977 (HAB, PLB, JADC) . All records welcomed. 

East African Bird Report 1977 125 


Ciaonia cioonia White Stork: 15 during Jly 1976 near Eldoret (JRB) . 

Cioonia nigra Black stork: Nairobi National Park, single birds on 1 Jan 
1977 (BSM) , 23 Jan 1977 (JFR) , 12 Mar 1977 (BSM) , 13 Apr 1977 (CEd) 
and 23 Oct 1977 (EB) . Ngong, 1 on 30 Jan 1977 (DKR) . Kiganjo, 1 on 12 
Apr 1977 (DAT) . Athi River, 1 on 30 Oct 1977 (DJP) . 01 Donyo Sabuk, 1 
on 13 Mar 1977 (WJP) . Aberdare National Park, one circling over moor- 
land on 5 Feb 1977 (WJP) . Near Tsavo Gate (Tsavo West) , 1 on 13 Nov 
1977 (DJP) . 

Sightings during the last decade clearly show that the Athi catchment 
area is a regular wintering ground for this species in Kenya. 

Platalea Zeucorodia European Spoonbill: Lake Naivasha, an adult from 30 
Dec 1976 to 11 Feb 1977 (TK, BSM). This is the first East African record 
since 1969. 

Anas oreoca Teal: 01 Bolossat, two males on 30 and 31 Dec 1976 (AEB, WPHD). 
Lake Baringo, a male on 30 Dec 1976 (DJP) . Gethiombwini Dam, Thika, two 
males from 14 Jan to 5 Mar 1977 (WJP) . 

Anas penelope Wigeon: 01 Bolossat, 1 on 27 Nov 1976 (JS) , several on 30 
and 31 Dec 1976 (AEB, WPHD) and a party of 16 on 5 Feb 1977 (DJP). Two 
on 31 Dec 1977 (DJP) . At the Ewaso Nyiro swamp, 1 on 23 Feb 1977 (DKR, 
GRCvS) . Six on a small lake between Nakuru and 01 Kalou on 31 Dec 1977 
(BSM) . Lake Nakuru, a female on 20 Dec 1977 (HAB, PLB) . Lake Turkana, 
Ferguson's Gulf, a female on 26 Dec 1976 (DJP). 

Recent recording has established that the Wigeon is an annual winter 
visitor in small numbers. 

Anas querquedula Garganey: 1600 counted on a c. 3 ha dam at Makuyu during 
Mar 1977 (DJP) is an exceptionally large concentration for East Africa. 

Aythya ferina European Pochard: 01 Bolossat, 2 males on 30 and 31 Dec 

1976 (see Scopus 1: 21-22). Kisiomu oxidation ponds, a male on 23 Dec 

1977 (BSM, DJW, JKW) . 

There are only two previous records in Kenya. 

Aquila clanga Spotted Eagle: Lake Naivasha, one in juvenile- type plumage 
on 16 Feb 1977 (BSM) . The 7th Kenya record but still unrecorded from 

Aquila heliaoa Imperial Eagle: Machakos, a juvenile (possibly 2nd year) 
seen perched on the roadside at about 15m and later circling overhead 
on 7 Nov 1977 (DJP) . Kabete, 1 in distinctive Ist-year plumage seen 
next to an immature Steppe Eagle A. rapax orientalis on 19 Nov 1977 
(BSM) . Tsavo West, Ngulia, another juvenile with Steppe Eagles seen on 
20 Nov 1977 and what was considered by the observers as the same bird 
on 22 Nov 1977 at Mtito Andei (JD, DJP) . 

Aquila pomarina Lesser Spotted Eagle: Nairobi National Park, 2 on 21 Nov 
1976 (DKR). 01 Bolossat, at least 9 on 5 Feb 1977 and 2 more on the 
same day over a small lake at 2600m southwest of Nyahururu (=Thomson's 
Falls) seen by DJP. Rift Valley Swamp near Ngong, 1 on 20 Oct 1977 (DKR). 
Ewaso Nyiro swamp, Shomboli, 3 on 30 Oct 1977 (DKR). On 7 Nov 1977 
single immatures were seen at Kibwezi and Kiboko (DJP) . 01 Donyo Sambu, 
14km north of Arusha, 3 on 25 Nov 1977 (per DAT). 

This species has obviously been overlooked in the past and the recent 
surge of records probably reflects the advances made in field identific- 
ation during the past few years. 

Buteo rufinus Long-legged Buzzard: Karen, 1 on 19 Mar 1977 (DKR) . 

Hieraaetus pennatus Booted Eagle: Nairobi National Park, 1 on 31 Oct 1976 

126 East African Bird Report 1977 

(DJP) . Tsavo East, Irima, 2 pale phase on 17 Nov 1976 (PCL) . Tsavo West, 
Ngulia, a dark phase from 19-21 Nov 1976 was caught in a mist-net but 
escaped (DJP) and a pale bird on 1 Dec 1976 (RJD, DJP) ,and a dark as 
well as a pale phase on 12 Dec 1976 (AEB, WPHD, DJP). Taita Hills, 
Mwatate, 1 on 5 Dec 1976 (DJP). Kibwezi, a medium phase on 5 Dec 1976 
(DJP) . Ewaso Nyiro swamp, a pale phase on 23 Jan 1977 (GRCvS, DKR) . 
Mtito Andei, a medium phase on 20 Feb 1977 (DJP). Mara Game Reserve, 
a dark bird at Governor's Camp on 10 Mar 1977 (DAT). Nguni (Garissa 
Road) , a pale phase on 13 Mar 1977 (DJP) - Rift Valley swamp near Ngong, 
a pale bird on the unusual date of 20 Aug 1977 (DKR) . Taita Hills, Bura, 
a dark phase on 3 Dec 1977 (BSM) . Thika, pale birds on 19 Feb 1976, 
16 Mar 1976 and 26 Mar 1977 (WJP) . Sokoke Forest, a pale bird on 8 Dec 
1977 (WJP) . 

Pemis apivoims Honey Buzzard: Wilson Airport, Nairobi, 1 at close range 
on 20 Oct 1977 (DKR). Thika, 1 on 3 Dec 1976 (WJP). Sokoke Forest, a 
dark bird on 3 Nov 1977 (WJP) . 

Surprisingly this species is still rarely recorded in East Africa, despite 
the increase in numbers of observers who regularly study Palaearctic 

Pandion haliaetus Osprey: Rift Valley swamp, single bird(s) on 17 Jly and 
6 Aug 1977 (BSM) . Thika, 1 during Dec 1977 (WJP) . 

Faloo amurensis Eastern Red- footed Falcon: Tsavo East, 2 males and a fe- 
male on 4 Dec 1976 (PCL, DJP) . 

Charadrius alexandrinus Kentish Plover: Lake Turkana, Ferguson's Gulf, 
four with other plovers on the spit on 25 Dec 1976, a singleton on the 
west of the gulf the same day and 2 more on ,26 Dec 1976 (DJP) . Lake ' 
Magadi, 1 on 26 Mar 1977 (AEB, WPHD). 
This species was apparently absent from Ferguson's Gulf in Dec 1977. 

Charadrius dubius Little Ringed Plover: Kariobangi Sewage Works, Nairobi, 
1 on 10 Nov 1976 (DJP). Lake Turkana, Ferguson's Gulf, 7 on the west 
shore 25 Dec 1976 (DJP). Thika, Gethumbwini Dam, 1 on 4 Feb 1977 (WJP). 

Charadrius leschenaultii Greater Sand Plover: INLAND RECORD: Lake Turkana, 
Ferguson's Gulf, 5 on 24 Dec 1976 (DJP). 

Charadrius mongolus Mongolian Sand Plover: INLAND RECORD: Ferguson's Gulf 
present in small numbers from 23-28 Dec 1976 with a maximum count of 15 
along the west shore on 25 Dec (DJP) . 

Pluvialis dominiea Lesser Golden Plover: Lake Surgoit, Eldoret, 1 on 9 
Oct 1976 (DEGB, WPHD, DJP) . Ferguson's Gulf, west shore, 1 on the mud- 
flats with 70 Caspian Plovers Charadrius asiaticus on 25 Dec 1976 (DJP) . 
Malindi Golf Course, 1 from at least 26 Sep 1976 to 20 Oct 1976 (JSA, 
HAB, PLB et al. ) . 

Pluvialis squatarola Grey Plover: INLAND RECORD: Ferguson's Gulf, 1 from 
25-26 Dec 1976 (DJP) . 

Haematopus osstralegus Oystercatcher: Tiwi Beach, 1 during early Sep 1976 
(DAT). Shelley Beach, Likoni, 1 on 29 Jun and 4 Jly 1977 (HAB, PLB, MG) . 

Phalaropus lobatus Red-necked Phalarope: Tsavo East, Aruba Dam, 1 on 
4 Oct 1976 (PCL) . 

Arenaria interpres Turnstone: INLAND RECORDS: Lake Naivasha, 2 feeding 
over decaying Salvinia on 29 Sep 1976 (TK, BSM) and 1 on 23 Sep 1977 
(BSM). Lake Magadi, 1 ringed 26 Sep 1977 (DEGB, JD) and 1 seen the same 
day (DKR) . 

Calidris alba Sanderling: INLAND RECORDS: Tsavo East, Aruba Dam, singles 
on 20 Sep and 4 Oct 1976 (PCL). Lake Magadi, 2 on 26 Sep 1976 (DKR). 

East African Bird Report 1977 127 

Calidris temrrinckii Temminck's Stint: Ferguson's Gulf, 3 on 25 Dec 1976 
(DJP) . Lake Baringo, 12 on 31 Dec 1976 (DJP)'. Thika, Gethumbwini Dam, 
5 on 22 Jan 1977 (WJP) . 01 Bolossat, 4 on 5 Feb 1977 (DJP) and 2 on 31 
Dec 1977 (DJP) . Lake Nakuru, 2 on 30-31 Dec 1977 (DJP) . 

Gallinago media Great Snipe: Tsavo East, Aruba Dam, up to 5, 14-18 Dec 

1976 (WJP). Lake Naivasha, 1 on 23 Sep 1977 (BSM) . 

Limioola faZcinellus Broad-billed Sandpiper: Sabaki River mouth, present 
from Aug 1976 (3 on 7th) until 4 Apr 1977 with a maximiam of 13 on 24 
Feb (HAB, PLB, DJP) . During the second half of 1977 recorded there as 
follows: 1 on 12 Aug, 2 on 16 Sep, 3 on 24 Sep and 10 on 20 Oct (HAB, 
PLB) . Lake Magadi, a female obtained (now in the National Museum) on 
3 Oct 1976 (GCB, DEGB) . 

Limosa lapponioa Bar-tailed Godwit: Lake Naivasha, 1 on 24 Jan 1977 (TK, 
BSM) . Sabaki River mouth, 1 on three dates from 19 Oct - 21 Nov 1976 
(HAB, PLB, DAT) ; 1 on 20 Oct 1977 (HAB, PLB) . Mida Creek, 1 on 18 Aug 
1976, 1 on 12 Sep 1976, 2 on 20 Oct 1976 (all HAB, PLB) , 7 on 30 Sep 

1977 (DJP) and 6 on 1 Oct 1977 (HAB, PLB, DJP). Nyali , singles on 6 Sep 

1976 and 30 Sep 1977 (HAB, PLB). In Tanzania, SS reported a 'small 
flock' at Dar es Salaam on 15 Sep 1977. 

Limosa limosa Black-tailed Godwit: Ferguson's Gulf, present from 23-28 
Dec 1976 with a count of 55 on the west shore on 25 Dec (DJP) j party 
of 72 there on 30 Dec 1977 (BSM, JKW) . Lake Bilisa, 1 on 26 Feb 1977 
(HAB, PLB) . Lake Nakuru, 30+ on 29 Dec 1977 (JdR, FdM, JM, NvS) . Lake 
Naivasha, 5 on 30 Nov 1976, 48 on 30 Dec 1976, 56 on 24 Jan 1977, 15 
on 16 Feb 1977, 2 on 21 Mar 1977 (TK, BSM); 1 on 23 Sep 1977 (BSM). 
None was seen between October and the end of the year despite regular 
visits, probably because of exceptionally high water level. Kendu Bay, 

1 on a seasonal lake on 4 Sep 1977 (CEd) . Amboseli, 1 on 20 Dec 1977 
(DAT) . Tsavo East, Ariiba Dam, 2 on 9 Sep 1976 (PCL) and 1 from 15-17 
Dec 1976 (WJP) . 

Lymnooryptes minimus Jack Snipe: Lake Naivasha, 1 on 29 Sep 1976 (TK, BSM) 

and 1 at Thika on 10 Feb 1977 (WJP) . 
Numenius arquata Curlew: INLAND RECORD: Lake Magadi, 1 on 30 May 1976 and 

again on 5 Jun (JFR) . 
Numenius phaeopus Whimbrel: INLAND RECORD: Lake Naivasha, 3 on 24 Jan 

1977 (TK, BSM) . 

Tringa erythropus Spotted Redshank: Lake Baringo, 7 on 31 Dec 1976 (DJP) . 
Thika area, 1 on 13 Dec 1976, 1 on 16 Feb 1977 and 8 on 12 Mar 1977 
(DJP, WJP). Aberdares at 3000m, 1 on 5 Feb 1977 (WJP). 01 Bolossat, 

2 on 27 Dec 1976 (JADC) . Ahero, c. 65 on 9 Feb 1977 and only 2 on 16 Feb 
(JADC) . Lake Naivasha, 1 on 12 Dec 1976 (WJP). Lake Magadi, 3 on 7 Dec 
1976, 1 on 26 Mar 1977 and 12 on 18 Apr 1977 (JFR). Amboseli, 3 on 20 
Dec 1976 (JFR) . 

Tringa totanus Redshank: Lake Naivasha, 1 on 23 Sep 1977 (BSM). Lake 
Magadi, 1 on 5 June 1976 (JFR). Mida Creek, 2 on 14 Aug 1976 (WJP), 
singles on 18 Aug and 12 Sep 1976 (HAB, PLB) , 2 on 2 Jan 1977 (JFR) , 
1 on 26 Jan 1977 (HAB, PLB) j 2 on 21 Aug 1977 (WJP) and 3 on 30 Sep 
1977 (HAB, PLB, DJP) . 

Xenus Qinereus Terek Sandpiper: INLAND RECORDS: Lake Naivasha, 1 on 25 
Oct 1977 (BSM) . Tsavo East, Aruba Dam, singles on 4 Oct and 1 Nov 1976 
(PCL). Lake Magadi, 1 ringed 3 Oct 1976 (GCB, DEGB) and 2 ringed on 
16 Oct 1976 (GCB, DEGB, JD, WPHD) . 

Lotus argentatus Herring Gull: Sabaki River mouth, 2 on 19 Oct 1976 (HAB, 

128 East African Bird Report 1977 

PLB) , 1 on 14 Jan 1977 (CC) , 2 on 15 Jan 1977 and 4 on 24 Feb 1977 
(HAB, PLB). Malindi Fish 'Market, 7 on 2 Dec 1976, 2 on 15 Jan 1977, 
12 on 5 Feb 1977, 7 on 26 Feb 1977, 4 on 12 Mar 1977 and 6 on 6 Nov 
1977 (HAB, PLB). Lake Turkana, Ferguson's Gulf, 1 on 24 and 26 Dec 1976 
(DJP, see Scopus 1: 45-47). 
Lotus fuscus Lesser Black-backed Gull: LARGE CONCENTRATIONS: Ferguson's 
Gulf, c. 300 around the spit from 23-28 Dec 1976 (DJP) and e. 250 from 
29-31 Dec 1977 (BSM) . Largest coastal flock reported was c. 50 at Mal- 
indi on 4 Apr 1977 (DJP) . 
Lotus genei Slender-billed Gull: Lake Turkana, Ferguson's Gulf, an adult 
and a second year bird from 25-27 Dec 1976 (DJP, see Scopus 1: 45-47). 
Loyengalani (east side of Lake Turkana) , 2 on 20 Dec 1977 (WJP) . 
These are the first records for Kenya and East Africa. 
Larus ichthyaetus Great Black-headed Gull: Ferguson's Gulf, 3 s\ab~adults 

on 26 Dec 1976 and one there the next day (DJP, see Scopus 1: 45-47). 
Larus ridihundus Black-headed Gull: the following records, from many 
observers, are given in chronological order. 
Jly 1976: 2 at Sabaki River mouth from 3- 3 1st, 1 at Lake Naivasha in 

breeding plumage on 29th. 
Sep 1976: 1 at Sabaki on 11th and 25th. 
Oct 1976: 1 at Sabaki on 19th. 

Dec 1976: Ferguson's Gulf, c. 450 from 23-28th, 80^ were adult. Lake 
Naivasha, 5 on 30th. Malindi Fish Market, 1 on 2nd. Thika 
oxidation ponds, 2 on 18th. 
Jan 1977: Sabaki, 22 on 15th. Malindi Fish Market, 2 on 15th. Thika 

oxidation ponds, 2 on 12th. 
Feb 1977: Lake Nakuru, 15 on 5th and 25th. Lake Naivasha, 5 on 16th. 
Sabaki, 29 on 24th. Malindi Fish Market, 26 on 5th and 3 on 
27th. Kilifi, 3 on 28th. 
Mar 1977: Malindi Fish Market, 11 on 12th and 13th. 
Apr 1977: Sabaki, 5 on 4th and 2 on 23rd and 29th. 
Jun 1977: Lake Nakuru, 30, all in non-breeding plumage, on 19th. 

Sabaki, 2 on 25th. 
Jly 1977: Lake Magadi, 1 on 3rd. Sabaki, 2 on 25th. 
Aug - Oct 1977: Recorded only from Sabaki where 2-3 birds present 

throughout . 
Nov 1977: Lake Naivasha, 3 on 21st. Sabaki, maximum, 4 on 6th. 
Dec 1977: Ferguson's Gulf, <3. 600 from 29th to 31st. Lake Nakuru, 50 on 
24th. Kisiomu, 1 on 22nd and 2 on 23rd. Nairobi National Park, 
5 on 26th. 
Sterna caspia Caspian Tern: Usengi, Lake Victoria, 1 on 6 Feb 1977 (JADC) . 
Sterna hirundo Common Tern: Dar es Salaam, 1 collected 27 Oct 1976 (KMH) . 
Sterna sandvioensis Sandwich Tern: Sabaki River mouth, 3 on 12 Aug 1976 
(HAB, PLB) and 4 from 3-4 Sep 1976 (HP). Ras Ngomeni, 1 on 27 Sep 1976 
(JSA) . Ras Iwetine, 1 on 15 Feb 1977 (HAB, PLB). 

There are only three previous records from East Africa, two of them 
from Kenya the other from Tanzania. 
Stercorarius pomarinus Pomarine Skua: Lake Turkana, a pale phase bird at 
Ferguson's Spit from 30 Dec 1977 to 1 Jan 1978 (BSM, DJW, JKW) . 
This is the third record for Kenya and East Africa. 
Cuculus poliocephalus Lesser Cuckoo: Ngulia, an immature ringed on 3 Dec 
1976 was the first record for the site (GCB, DEGB, JD, PCL, DJP) . Shimba 
Hills, 12+ on 3 Apr 1977 (HAB, PLB) and reported from coastal forests 
between 9 and 10 Apr 1977 (JDG) and on 19 Apr 1977 (WJP) . 

East African Bird Report 1977 129 

Streptopelia turtur Turtle Dove: Barsoloi, 1 from 16-19 Oct 1976 (JFMH, 
LLS. see Scopus 1: 50). 
The first record for Kenya and East Africa. 

Caprimulgus europaeus European Nightjar: ALL RECORDS RECEIVED: recorded 
only from Ngulia in Kenya, during 1976/77 season caught and ringed on 
29 Nov (1), 3 Dec (2), 14 Dec and a late bird on 1 Jan. In the second 
half of 1977 11 between 5-7 Nov and 3 on 18-19 Nov (GCB, DJP) . 
Dar es Salaam, 1 collected 12 Apr 1977 (KMH) . 

Coraoias garrulus European Roller: EARLY RECORD: Voi, 1 on 9 Oct 1977 (BSM). 

Jynx torquitla wryneck: above Nessuit Forest Station, near Njoro, 1 seen 
on 20 Dec 1976. 

Acrocephatus grisetdis Basra Reed Warbler: Tsavo East, Ariaba Dam, 1 on 
4 Dec 1976 (PCL, DJP) and from 2 to 4+ seen there between 15 and 17 
Dec 1976 (WJP) . Ngulia: 57 ringed between 16 Nov and 3 Dec 1976 and 
another 11 between 14 Dec and 1 Jan (GCB, DJP) ; 1 ringed on 13 Apr 1977 
(HAB, PLB) ; 2 on 18 Nov 1977 and 12 (including 7 on 12 Dec) to end of 
year (GCB, DJP) . Bamburi, singles ringed on 14 Nov 1976, 10 Jan 1977, 
7 Apr 1977, 4 and 8 Dec 1977 (HAB, PLB) . 

Acrocephatus palustris Marsh Warbler: RECORD AWAY FROM S.E. KENYA: Kabete, 
1 caught and ringed on 6 Mar 1977 was moulting and probably a wintering 
totals included 250 on 10 Dec 1977, 497 on 12 Dec 1977, 237 on 18 Dec 
1977 and 161 on 19 Dec 1977 (GCB, DJP) . 

Hippolais languida Upcher's Warbler: Nairobi, Kariobangi, 1 on 10 Nov 1976 
(DJP) . Ngulia, passage from 21 Nov 1976 to 17 Jan 1977 and 43 ringed 
(GCB, DJP) ; 5 ringed on 13 Apr 1977 (HAB, PLB) ; during the end of 1977 
there was an early bird on 7 Nov and 7 between 10-18 Dec (GCB, DJP) . 
Otheinvise recorded in the Mtito Andei area - widespread in small numbers 
on 23 Jan, 20 Feb and 1 Apr 1977 (DJP) . Mwatate, Taita Hills, 1 on 5 
Dec 1976 (DJP) . Meru National Park, 1 on 3 Jan 1977 (HAB, PLB) . Near 
Nguria, Garissa road, several birds found in two areas on 13 Mar 1977 
(DJP). Voi, 2 in Commiphora woodland 18km northwest of town on 20 Nov 
1977 (DJP) . 

The Meru record is the first for the Park and, together with the Nguria 
sightings suggests that the middle reaches of the Tana catchment could 
be a wintering area for the species. 

Hippolais icterina Icterine Warbler: 1 ringed on 7 Nov 1977 was the first 
record for Ngulia (DJP) . 

Hippolais olivetorum Olive-tree Warbler: Ngulia, 1 on 19 Nov 1976, 7 caught 
between 23-25 Nov and 3 on 29 Nov 1976; 15 ringed between 5 Nov and 12 
Dec 1977 (GCB, DJP). Voi, 1 in Commiphora 15km northwest of the town 
on 20 Nov 1977 (DJP) . 
An early migrant, confirmed again. 

Locustella fluviatilis River Warbler: Ngulia, between 21 Nov 1976 and 
25 Jan 1977 144 ringed, the majority 23 Nov to 24 Dec; the bird on 
25 Jan 1977 was the latest to be recorded at Ngulia and had started 
wing moult (GCB, DEGB, JD, DJP) . In late 1977 present from 7 Nov to 
end of year, maxima of 20 on 12 Dec and 20 on 15 Dec (GCB, DJP). Taita 
Hills, 3 at Bura and 2 at Mwatate on 5 Dec 1976 (DJP) . Kambo, near Mtito 
at least 3 on 15 Dec 1976 and 1 on 23 Jan 1977 (DJP). Makindu, 1 on 
15 Dec 1976 (DJP). Kinyiki, near Mtito, 1 on 9 Dec 1977 (DJP, BT) . 
Kinyang, 2 ringed on 25 Dec 1977 (JADC) . 

The poor niambers ringed during the 1977/78 season was probably caused 
by clear nights cmd/or a big moon during late November and the first 

130 East African Bird Report 1977 

half of December, the peak passage time. 

Locustella naevia Grasshopper Warbler: Nguruman Escarpment, 1 ringed and 
photographed on 19 June 1977 was the first record for East Africa (VCF, 
CCF and see Scopus 1 : 84-86) . 

Phyllo Scopus collyhita Chiffchaff: Nandi Hills, 1 ringed on 19 Feb 1977 
(JADC) . 

Phylloscopus sibilatrix Wood Warbler: Ngulia, 1 ringed on 3 Dec 1976 was 
the first record for the site (GCB, DEGB, JD, PCL, DJP) . 

Cercotrichas galactotes Rufous Bush Chat: Baringo, 1 on 31 Dec 1976 (DJP) . 
Ngulia, 27 ringed between 15 Nov and 3 Dec 1976 and then singles on 
19, 20 and 28 Dec: 53 ringed between 5-7 Nov 1977 and only a further 8 
between then and the end of the year (GCB, DJP) . Tsavo East, widespread 
inside and outside the Park at Voi between 3-5 Dec 1976 and several at 
different sites on 20 Nov 1977 (DJP) . Nguni, about 3 and 1 at two 
different sites on 13 Mar 1977 (DJP). 

The species ' status as an early migrant was properly proved for the 
first time at Ngulia in 1977. 

Irania gutturalis Irania (White-throated Robin): 117 ringed at Ngulia 
between 15 Nov 1976 and 24 Jan 1977 (GCB, DEGB, JD, DJP) j 1 ringed on 
13 Apr 1977 (HAB, PLB) . Occurred throughout from 5 Nov 1977 until 19 
Dec with most at the beginning and end of this period, maxima 15 on 
5 Nov and 17 on 18 Dec (GCB, DJP) . Also several in the Mtito area on 
16 Jan 1977 and 23 Jan 1977 (DJP). Voi and Taita Hills, common between 
3-5 Dec 1976 and at Voi again on 8 Dec 1977 (DJP) . Kitui-Mutomo, seen 
at two sites on 18 Feb 1977 and 3 seen and heard singing at Nguni on 
13 Mar 1977 (DJP) . 

Phoenicurus phoeniourus Redstart: 1 ringed at Ngulia on 16 Jan 1977 was 
the first for the site (DJP) . 

Saxioola ruhetra Whinchat: all records received are published: Lake Nak- 
uru, 1 on 20 Dec 1977 (HAB, PLB). Nanyuki, 1 on 24 Dec 1977 (HAB, PLB). 
Nairobi, Kenyatta University College, 1 on 5 Mar 1977 (DEP) . Kisumu, 1 
on 23 Dec 1977 (BSM, DJW, JKW) . 


Ciconia nigra Black Stork: Nairobi National Park, 1 on 26 Feb 1975 and 

1 in Meru National Park on 29 Mar 1975 (DEW) . 
Anas penelope Wigeon: Lake Naivasha, 2 on 15 Feb 1976 (DEW) . 
Aquila pomerina Lesser Spotted Eagle: Lake Naivasha, an immature at a 

hippo carcass with Tawny and Steppe Eagles on 10 Feb 1975 (PA, DEW) . 
Fatco amurensis Eastern Red- footed Falcon: Lake Naivasha, 2 males on 10 

Feb 1975 (PA, DEW) . 
Charadrius dubius Little Ringed Plover: Lake Naivasha, 3 on 10 Feb 1975 

(PA, DEW). Bushwhackers, Athi River, 1 on 31 Dec 1975 (HP). 
Calidris temminckii Temminck's Stint: Lake Nakuru, 3 on 18 Mar 1975 (DEW). 

Lake Naivasha, singles on 10-12 Feb 1975 and 15 Feb 1976 (PA, DEW) . 
Gallinago media Great Snipe: Ahero, Kano Plains, 1 on 16 May 1976 (RB, 

CEd) . 
Limosa lapponica Bar-tailed Godwit: Lake Naivasha, 2 on 15 Feb 1976 (DEW). 

Coraldene Beach, 2 from 17-18 Oct 1975 (DEW). 
Tringa totanus Redshank: Mida Creek, 3 on 31 Jan 1976 (PA, DEW). 
Larus argentatus Herring Gull: Malindi, 3 on 1 Feb 1976 (PA, DEW) and 5 

on 4 Feb 1976 (DEW) . 
CuGulus poliocephalus Lesser Cuckoo: Gedi, 2 on 21 Apr 1975 (DEW). 


East Afrioccn Bird Report 1977 


I HippoZais oZvoetorwm. Olive-tree Warbler: Seya River, between Wamba and 
Baragoi, 1 on 21 Sep 1975 (DEW) . 
Cerootviohas gataototes Rufous Bush Chat: Samburu Reserve, 4 between 23- 
24 Mar 1975 (DEW). Malindi, 1 on 18 Apr 1975 (DEW). Sabaki River mouth, 
8 on 9 Feb 1976 was considered to be an arrival since the observer had 
not seen any along the coast during Jan and early Feb: also 2 at Twiga 
Lodge, south of Mombasa on 11 February 1976 (DEW). 

The Ethiopian species records were compiled by D.A. Turner and P.L. Britton, 
the oceanic species by H.A. & P.L. Britton and the Palaearctics by B.S. 
Meadows. A list of observers who kindly supplied the records follows. 

P. Agland 

P. Hemphill 

A.L. Archer 

J.F.M. Home 

J.S. Ash 

K.M. Howell 

D.E.G. Backhurst 

G.C. Irvine 

G.C. Backhurst 

T. Kallqvist 

J.R. Best 

E. La Cour 

P. Beverley 

P.C. Lack 

E . Bozniak 

B.S. Meadows 

R. Briggs 

N.B. Miller 

H.A. Britton 

F. de Miranda 

P.L. Britton 

J. Mulder 

A.E. Butterworth 

D.J. Pearson 

Cambridge Expedition 

to EA 

H. Pel Chen 

J.A.D. Cape 

W.J. Plnmb 

M. Carswell 

D.E. Pomeroy 

C. Carter 

J. de Raad 

G.R. Cunningham- van 


J.F- Reynolds 

A.W. Diamond 

D.K. Richards 

J. Dirks 

G. Rilling 

A. Donnelly 

M. Robbins 

P.S. Donnelly 

D. Schmidl 

R.J. Dowse tt 

L.L. Short 

W.P.H. Duff us 

J. Squire 

C. Eddy (=CEd) 

S. Stuart 

V. Emanuel 

B. Taylor 

C.C. Fayad 

D.A. Turner 

V.C. Fayad 

N. van Swelm 

A.D. Forbes-Watson 

D.J. Weston 

A. Geerstsema 

J.K. Weston 

J.D. Gerhart 

D.E. Wolf 

M. Gillett 

G. Zink 

132 East African Bird Report 1977 


Hazel A. Britton 

The decision to produce an East African Bird Report annually as a fifth 
issue of Scopus more or less coincided with the completion of the analysis 
of breeding data in the Nest Record Scheme (including records from the 
literature) by Brown & Britton (in press) . This, and subsequent annual 
reports will serve to update the seasonality data in that work. 

Details given are minimal, and no attempt has been made to provide 
clutch-size, nest-site or success-rate data in this report. Unless other- 
wise stated, the month given refers to actual egg-laying or to computed 
egg-laying dates from dependent young in or out of the nest. Records of 
nest building, brood patches, nuptial dress and copulation are not listed 
except for a few examples of special interest (records in the last two 
categories are not, in fact, required - see 'Notes for contributors'). 
Many non-passerine records and a few pxoblished passerine ones from this 
period have been incorporated by Brown & Britton (in press) ; they are 
marked with an asterisk in this report to avoid duplication. The except- 
ional breeding activity at the seasonal lakes west of the Ngong Hills 
detailed by Cunningham-van Someren & Richards (1977) is referred to 
repeatedly in the systematic list (abbreviated as vS) . Other references 
are not given. 

This report comprises records provided by the following contributors 
from cards received before 20 April 1978: H. Adan, P.M. Allen, D. Angwin, 
J.S. Ash, D.E.G. Backhurst, H.A. & P.L. Britton, L.H. Brown, F.N. Bruce- 
Miller, K. , L. & T. Campbell, M. Candy, J.A.D. Cape, M. Carswell, J. Carver, 
M.P. Clifton, G.R. Cunningham-van Someren, P. Davey, L. Dempster, J. Dirks, 
A.V. & P.S. Donnelly, R.J. Dowsett, W.P.H. Duffus, W.G. Dyson, C.T. Eddy, 
J.D. Gerhart, J. Hayes, M. Heath, M. Hemphill, P. J.S. Hewett, K.M. Howell, 
J.L. Innes (Cambridge Expedition) , G.C. & D. Irvine, P.G. Kaestner, 
P.C. Lack, F. Lemaire, L. Lokiru, S.G. Madge, F.J. McCartney, B.S. Meadows, 
J. Miskell, F. Ng'weno, C.E. Norris, E. Oxtoby, H. Pelchen, H. Penry, 
W.J. Plumb, J.F. Reynolds, D.K. & V.A. Richards, G. Rilling, M. Robbins , 
C. Rowe, D. Schmidl, P. Scott, D. Sheppard, N.J. Skinner, J.E. Squire, 
E. Thomson, S. Trevor, D.A. Turner, A.E. Visagie, J.R. Walters, R.D. Wid- 
man, A.E. Williams, T.R. Williams. 

Struthio camelus massaicus Ostrich: Nairobi N.P. Aug, Sep; Naivasha Aug*. 

smalicus: Meru N.P. Feb and Aug; Samburu G.R. Sep. 
Podiceps cristatus Great-crested Grebe: W of Ngong Hills, see vS. 
Podioeps nigrioollis Black-necked Grebe: W of Ngong Hills, see vS. 
Tachybaptus ruficollis Little Grebe: Solai May (2) ; Nairobi Jan, Feb (2) , 

Mar (3) , Apr (3) , Jun (2) ; Naivasha Aug; Amboseli Jan; W of Ngong Hills 

see vS* ; Thika Jly; Njoro Jun, Oct; Mombasa May, 
Peleoanus onocrotalus white Pelican: Elmenteita Jly-Nov*. 
Phalaorocorax africanus Long- tailed Cormorant: W of Ngong Hills see vS*. 
Phataorocorax oarbo Cormorant: W of Ngong Hills see vS*. 
Ardea goliath Goliath Heron: Baringo Aug*; Naivasha Sep. 
Ardea melanocephala Black-headed Heron: Malindi Oct-Dec*; Mombasa ? Oct; 

Athi River Station mainly Jun (young 50-90% grown Aug) . 
Egretta intermedia Yellow-billed Egret: W of Ngong Hills see vS*. 
Ixobryohus minutus Little Bittern: Thika, inaccessible nest Jim, 2 young 

just flying 22 Jly. 

East African Bird Report 1977 133 

Ixobryohus stumiii Dwarf Bittern: Thika, nest inaccessible and not seen, 

3 yoving being fed by adults 23 Jun - 14 Jly. 
Ephippiorhynohus senegalensis Saddle-bill stork: Tana Primate Reserve 4 

juveniles fully fledged in nest Sep. 
Pkoenioopterus ruber Greater Flamingo: Elmenteita Oct*. 
Bostryohia hagedash Hadada Ibis: Nairobi area Mar, Oct; Kisii May. 
Platalea alha African Spoonbill: W of Ngong Hills see vS*; Elmenteita Jun. 
Threskiomis aethiopioa Sacred Ibis: W of Ngong Hills see vS*; Elmenteita 

Alopoahen aegyptiaoa Egyptian Goose: Samburu G.R. Nov (2) ; Meru N.P. small 

young Jan: Lower Tana small young Jly-Sep (6) ; Tsavo (East and West) 

small chicks to 5-grown Jly-Jan (10) ; Amboseli large young (not flying) 

Apr (3) , small to large young Dec (3) ; Mara third-grown young Dec; 

Karen i-grown young Mar; Timau just hatched Aug; Elmenteita Jun. 
Anas capensis Cape Wigeon: Elmenteita Sep, Oct (2)*. 
Anas erythrorhynohus Red-billed Duck: W of Ngong Hills see vS*. 
Anas hottentota Hottentot Teal: Thika Jun*; W of Ngong Hills see vS*. 
Anas sparsa Black Duck: Nyambenis Oct; Nanyuki Sep. 
Netta erythrophthalma African Pochard: W of Ngong Hills see vS*; Thika 

May- Jly (3)*. 
Nettapus auritus Pigmy Goose: near Mombasa Jly*. 
Oxyura macooa Maccoa Duck: W of Ngong Hills see vS*. 
Vteotopterus gajrbensis Spur-winged Goose: Amboseli Jan-Feb (2) . 
Thalassomis leuoonotus White-backed Duck: Thika Jun*. 
Dendroaygna viduata White-faced Tree Duck: Baringo Aug*; Thika Jan*. 
Falco hiarmious Lanner: W of Ngong Hills ? incubating Aug. 
Fatco rupiooZoides White-eyed Kestrel: Kedong Valley occupied nest Jly. 
Aoaipiter badius Shikra: Kisii Jly. 

Aooipiter melanoleuous Great Sparrow Hawk: Karen May*. 
Aquila rapax Tawny Eagle: Nairobi N.P. Jly. 
Aquila verreauxii Verreaux's Eagle: Nairobi N.P. Jun (1976)*, young half 

to two thirds grown 26 Jly 1977; Ngong/Suswa late Jun or early Jly*. 
Aquila wahlbergi Wahlberg's Eagle: Tsavo West Sep 1976* and also incubat- 
ing on same nest Nov 1977, another nest Sep 1976* and incubating again 

Nov 1977; near Mukuyu Oct. 
Buteo rufofuSGUS Augur Buzzard: Elmenteita Aug*; W of Ngong Hills ? Aug. 
Circaetus pectoralis Black-chested Harrier Eagle: Nairobi N.P. incxabating/ 

brooding Nov. 
Haliaeetus vocifer Fish Eagle: Gedi ? Jly*; Sabaki (Malindi) May*; 

Naivasha incubating Sep-Oct (5) . 
Hieraaetus dubius Ayres' H^wk Eagle: Embu District Aug 1976* also Sep 

1977*, another nest Aug 1977*. 
Lophaetus occipitalis Long-crested Eagle: Vipingo (coast) Jly. 
Melierax metabates Dark Chanting Goshawk: between Amboseli and Namanga 

incubating/brooding Dec . 
Milvus migrans Black Kite: Nairobi incubating/brooding Oct; Kampala incu- 
bating/brooding Nov. 
Polemaetus bellicosus Martial Eagle: Masai-Mara G.R. Feb. 
Stephanoaetus coronatus Crowned Hawk Eagle: Diani (coast) fully-fledged 

young being fed Jun; building Aberdares Jun. 
Terathopius ecaudatus Bateleur: Amboseli N.P. Jun 1976*, also incubating 

Apr 1977 (possibly same nest) ; Olorgesailie incubating/brooding Jly. 
Aegypius traoheliotus Lappet-faced Vulture: Masai-Mara G.R. large yoving 

being fed in nest Aug. 

134 East African Bird Report 1977 

Trigonooeps occipitalis White-headed Vulture :Masai-Mara G.R. young 

partially feathered Nov. 
Sagittarius serpentarius Secretary Bird: Tsavo West 2 young nearly full 

grown Apr; Nairobi N.P. in cxiba ting/brooding Sep. 
Francolinus hildehrandti Hildebrandt's Francolin: Naivasha Sep; Masa- 

Mara G.R. Jly. 
Francolinus leucosoepus Yellow-necked Spurfowl: Nairobi N.P. Jly, Sep; 

Naivasha Jly; Samburu G.R. Apr; Meru N.P. Mar. 
Francolinus sephaena Crested Francolin: Samburu G.R. Apr; Amboseli Apr; 

Naro Moru Nov; Shimoni Aug. 
Guttera pucherani Kenya Crested Guinea Fowl: Kenya coast May-Jly (3)*. 
Numida meleagris Helmeted Guinea Fowl: Amboseli Apr; Nairobi N.P. May; 

Naivasha ^-grown young Jly; Meru N.P. Dec. 
Cotumix delegorguei Harlequin Quail: Njoro Oct, Nov. 
Balearica pavonina Crowned Crane: Nairobi N.P. young ^s-grown 5 Sep 1976, 

juvenile nearly fledged 27 Mar 1917, small yoxong Jun and Jly and young 

nearly fledged 9 Oct 1977; Kiambu young Aug; Timboroa incubating/brood- 
ing Jun; Amboseli eggs hatched c. 11 Jun; W of Ngong Hills see vS*. 
Podica senegalensis Finfoot: Athi River (a) Meat Commission Dam 's-grown 

young 1 Oct*, (b) Nairobi N.P. young just over ^-grown 12 Nov. Only 

one previous record for this species in our area. 
Otis kori Kori Bustard: Meru N.P. ^s-grown young 8 May. 
Fulica cristata Red-knobbed Coot: Timboroa incxabating Nov (2) . 
Gallinula chtoropus Moorhen: Naivasha Aug; Karen Apr; W of Ngong Hills vS. 
Lirmocorax flavirostra Black Crake: Naivasha Oct; Mabamba swamp (U) Nov. 
Tumix sylvatica Button Quail: Tsavo East N.P. Dec*. 
Burhinus capensis Spotted Thicknee: Nairobi N.P. Jan and |-grown young 

Burhinus vermiculatus Water Thicknee: Tana River, Nanigi incubating Aug, 

near Garsen late Jly. 
Charadrius marginatus White-fronted Sand Plover: N of Malindi Aug; 

Kibwezi Jly*. 
Charadrius pallidus Chestnut-banded Sand Plover: Magadi May, Jly. 
Charadrius pecuarius Kittlitz's Sand Plover: Amboseli Mar, Apr, Nov; 

Magadi Apr, May; Shomboli Mar; Elmenteita May; Tsavo East Jun. 
Charadrius tricollaris Three-banded Plover: Amboseli Jun; Nairobi N.P. 

Jly; Meru N.P. Dec. 
Vanellus armatus Blacksmith Plover: Amboseli Mar-Apr (6) , Aug (2) , Dec 
(3.) ; Magadi Mar (2) , Apr (3) , Jun, Jly (6) ; Nairobi Jly; W of Ngong 

Hills see vS*. 
Vanellus coronatus Crowned Lapwing: Nairobi Jan, Apr, May, Oct (2) , Nov; 

Kiambu Oct; Amboseli Mar (2) , Apr, Nov; Mikumi N.P. (T) Aug. 
Vanellus crassirostris Long- toed Lapwing: Amboseli Dec. 
Vanellus lugubris Senegal Plover: near Isiolo late Oct or early Nov. 
Vanellus spinosus Spur-winged Plover: Tsavo East Jly (2) ; Tana River near 

Korakora Aug; Samburu G.R. Oct; Lake Bogoria Jan. 
Cursorius africanus Two-banded Courser: Shomboli Mar*. 
Cu^sorius cinctus Heuglin's Courser: Amboseli late Oct or early Nov. 
Cursorius temminokii Temminck's Courser: Kitengela area Jly. 
Actophilomis africanus Jacana: Naivasha Jly; Amboseli Apr; Lake Jipe 

Mar; Mombasa Feb. 
Sterna dougallii Roseate Tern: Kisite Island Aug. 
Himantopus himantopus Black-winged Stilt: Magadi Mar (4)*, 2 relaid Apr*; 

Amboseli Apr*; W of Ngong Hills see vS*. 

East African Bird Report 1977 135 

Reourvirostra aoosetta Avocet: Magadi Mar*. 

Rostratula benghalensis Painted Snipe: Nairobi N.P. Apr*; w of Ngong Hills 

see vS* . 
Colurriba arquatrix Olive Pigeon: near Elburgon Nov. 
Columba guinea Speckled Pigeon: Magadi Mar; S of Olorgesailie incubating 

Jun; Kisii Aug, another clutch laid Oct (two weeks after previous 

brood left nest) . 
Oena aapensis Namaqua Dove: Kendu Bay Nov; Tsavo East Nov. 
Streptopelia oapioola Ring-necked Dove: Ukunda (coast) Oct; Naivasha 

incubating Jun; Solai May. 
Streptopelia decipiens Mourning Dove: Baringo May (many) and Sep (2) . 
Streptopelia lugens Dusky Turtle Dove: Nairobi May, Jly; Njoro Oct. 
Streptopelia semitorquata Red-eyed Dove: Nairolfi Jan, Feb, Apr, Jun, Jly 

(3), Aug, Sep (3), Nov. 
Streptopelia senegalensis Laughing Dove: Tsavo East Dec-Jan (16); Kibwezi 

Feb, Sep (2) ; Athi Plains Jan; Nairobi Apr; near Olorgesailie May (2) ; 

Naivasha Sep; Njoro Nov. 
Treron australis Green Pigeon: Nairobi incubating Jan, Feb. 
Turtur ohaloospilos Emerald-spotted Wood Dove: Kenya coast Sep (2) ; 

Kiambu Oct. 
Turtur tympanistria Tambourine Dove: Sokoke Forest Aug. 
Pterocles deooratus Black- faced Sandgrouse: Tsavo East Jun-Aug (6+)*. 
Agapomis fischeri Fischer's Lovebird: Naivasha occupied hole Sep. 
Centropus superailiosus White-browed Coucal: Kenya coast Jly, Sep; 

Amboseli late Mar or early Apr. 
Chrysooooayx aaprius Didric Cuckoo: Nairobi area May- Jun (5) hosts Plooeus 

baglafeoht when seen; Thika Jan host P. cucullatus. 
Chrysooooayx oupreus Emerald Cuckoo: Nairobi late Sep, early Oct host 

Neotarinia kilimensis ; Kakamega Forest Jly host Pyononotus barbatus. 
Chrysooooayx klaas Klaas' Cuckoo: Lambwe Valley Jun host Neotarinia mari- 

quensis; Kampala late Jly early Aug host N, verticalis. 
Clamator glandarius Great Spotted Cuckoo: young being fed by two Lamprot- 

omis chalybaeus at Naivasha*. 
Cuoulus solitarius Red-chested Cuckoo: Nairobi Apr, Jun and Aug (egg laid 

Jun unsuccessful) hosts Cossypha oaffra almost certainly same pair on 

all three occasions; Kiambu Oct in nest of Motacilla clara; Lambwe 

Valley Jun host C. heuglini; Kendu Bay Jly host Pyononotus barbatus. 
Corythaeola oristata Great Blue Turaco: Kaimosi Oct, Nov (2), Jan. 
Musophaga rossae Ross' Turaco: Kaimosi Oct, Nov, Jan. 
Tauraoo hartlaubi Hartlaub's Turaco: Karen Sep. 

Tauraoo livingstonii Schalow's Turaco: Masai-Mara incubating Jly. 
Bubo afrioanus Spotted Eagle Owl.: Kikuyu Sep; Nairobi Aug; Tsavo East Oct. 
Bubo laateus Verreaux's Eagle Owl: Njoro incubating Oct; Lambwe Valley 

incubating Aug. 
Tyto alba Barn Owl: Dar es Salaam Aug; Nairobi Aug. 
Caprimulgus olarus Slender- tailed Nightjar: near Malindi Aug (3); Tana 

River Primate Reserve Sep. 
Caprimulgus donaldsoni Donaldson-Smith's Nightjar: Tsavo East Jly. 
Caprimulgus fraenatus Dusky Nightjar: Embu District Oct. 
Apus affinis Little Swift: Watamu Jly (3), Nov (2), Dec; Ngulia Oct (from 

large colony on Lodge walls) . 
Apus horus Horus Swift: Naivasha occupied holes May (c. 30), Oct (4+) . 
Colius maorourus Blue-naped Mousebird: Malindi Sep; Tsavo East Jun. 

136 East Afvioan Bird Eeport 1977 

Colius striatus Speckled Mousebird: Kenya coast Jly (2) , Aug, Sep (2) , 

Oct (2), Nov; Njoro Oct. 
Apaloderma narina Narina's Trogon: Karen Jan and Sep*. 
Halcyon ahelicuti Striped Kingfisher: Tot (Kerio Valley) feeding young 

Indicator indicator 27 Aug; Tsavo West feeding young out of nest 17 Dec. 
Halcyon leucocephala Grey-headed Kingfisher: Thika feeding young in nest 

11 Nov; Samburu G.R. feeding young 2-3 days on 27 May*. 
Tockus alboterminatus Crowned Hornbill: Kiboko (Hunter's Lodge) occupied 

hole (feeding) 5 Mar. 
Tockus deckeni Von der Decken's Hornbill: Bushwhackers Nov (male feeding 

female inside hole, probably eggs) ; Amboseli Jan (male bringing food 

to hole, probably nestlings) . 
Tockus erythrorhynchus Red-billed Hornbill: Tsavo East (occupied hole, 

probably eggs) and young being fed out of hole Jly; near Marigat young 

being fed in hole 23 Sep; Samburu G.R. occupied hole (feeding) 19 Dec. 
Tockus flavirostris Yellow-billed Hornbill: Meru N.P. feeding young in 

hole 3 Jun. 
Coracias caudata Lilac-breasted Roller: near Mombasa Aug; Naivasha Aug; 

Samburu G.R. Nov. 
Coracias naevia Rufous-crowned Roller: Naivasha Mar. 

Merops bullockoides White- fronted Bee-eater: Naivasha feeding young Oct. 
Merops muelleri Blue-headed Bee-eater: Kakamega Forest May. 
Merops oreobates Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater: Karen feeding yoimg in holes 

Dec; Murang'a District feeding young in holes Jan; near Nairobi (in 

Rift Valley) feeding young out of nest Jly. 
Merops pusillus Little Bee-eater: Lake Baringo May; Nairobi feeding young 

in holes Feb, Nov. 
Phoeniculus bollei White-headed Wood Hoopoe: Mt Kenya feeding young out 

of nest Feb. 
Phoeniculus cyanomelas Scimitar-bill: Nairobi occupied hole 12 Mar. 
Phoeniculus granti Violet Wood Hoopoe: Tana River P.R. occupied hole Sep. 
Phoeniculus purpureus Green Wood-Hoopoe: Sokoke Forest May; Nairobi N.P. 

Jun, Sep; Samburu G.R. May. 
Upupa epops African Hoopoe: Nakuru Sep; Naivasha Sep; Embu Sep; Nairobi 

Sep, May, occupied hole Mar. 
Buccanodon olivaceum Green Barbet: Amani occupied nest hole Sep. 
Gymnobucco bonapartei Grey- throated Barbet: Kakamega late Oct or early Nov, 
Lybius bidentatus Doiible- toothed Barbet: Malakisi (W Kenya) Sep. 
Lybius lacrymosus Spotted-flanked Barbet: Nairobi Oct. 
Lybius leucocephalus White-headed Barbet: Meru Apr*. 
Pogoniulus bilineatus Golden-rumped Tinkerbird: near Mombasa May*; 

Sokoke Forest Oct. 
Pogoniulus pusillus Red- fronted Tinkerbird: Kenya coast Jly, Sep. 
Trachyphonus damaudii d'Arnaud's Barbet: Bushwhackers young in nests 

Jan and Jun. 
Trachyphonus erythrocephalus Red and Yellow Barbet: Tsavo West feeding 

young in nest 8 Dec; Samburu G.R. feeding large young in nest 27 May*; 

Ologesailie feeding young in nest 26 Jun*. 
Trachyphonus purpuratus Yellow-billed Barbet: Kakamega Forest occupied 

hole 12 Jan. 
Indicator indicator Black- throated Honeyguide: Naivasha young being fed 

out of nest by Lamprotomis chalybaeus 23 Aug; Tot young being fed by 

Halcyon chelicuti 27 Aug. 
Indicator variegatus Scaly-throated Honeyguide: Elmenteita young being 

East African Bird Report 197? 137 

fed by Mesopicos goertae 1 Dec; Nairobi young being fed by M. goerti 

8 Dec. 
Prodotisous insignis Cassin's Honeyguide: Nairobi young being fed by 

Zosterops senegatensis 10 Jly. 
Campethera nubiaa Nubian Woodpecker: Njoro occupied hole Oct; Bushwhackers 

late Sep or early Oct* . 
Dendropicos fuscescens Cardinal Woodpecker : Magadi Apr* . 
Dendropicos obsoletus Brown-backed Woodpecker: Nairobi occupied hole 

(feeding) 31 Aug. 
Jynx rufiaollis Red-breasted Wryneck: Solai Apr*. 
Mesopicos goertae Grey Woodpecker: near Ngong (Rift Valley) feeding young 

Aug; Elmenteita (parasitized) eggs would have been laid Oct; Naivasha 

Aug; Nairobi Jly, and parasitized nest in which egg laid Oct. 

Eremopterix Zeuoopareia Fischer's Sparrowlark: Amboseli Apr. 
Mirafra africana Rufous-naped Lark: Syokimau Farm (Athi Plains) Mar. 
Motaoilla clara Mountain Wagtail: Mt Kenya Dec; Kiambu Sep (2). 
Motacilla aguimp African Pied Wagtail: Nairobi area Jun,Oct; Naro Moru 

Jun; Tsavo East Aug; Kendu Bay occupied hole Oct; Kakamega Jly. Watamu 

eggs laid in two boats Jly, Sep 1976, Jan, Feb, Mar, May, Jun (2 clutches) 

Aug, Oct, Dec - 5 of these clutches were successful rearing at least 13 

young in 1977. 
AnthiiS novaeseelandiae Richard's Pipit: Naro Moru Dec; Murang'a District 

Dec; Nairobi Apr. 
Macronyx oroceus Yellow- throated Longclaw: Nairobi Sep; Njoro Apr; 

Nakuru May. 
Macronyx sharpei Sharpe's Longclaw: Kinangop Dec. 

Tmetothylacus tenellus Golden Pipit: Tsavo West late Mar or early Apr. 
Hirundo abyssinica striped Swallow: Kikuyu May; Malindi Jly. 
Hirundo daurioa Red-rumped Swallow: Kikuyu late Apr or early May; Kabete Jly. 
Hirundo fuligula African Rock Martin: Tsavo East Feb; Solai May (2); 

Voi Nov; Kikuyu Apr; Karen Apr, Jun, Oct, Dec - 3 broods in 1977 reared 

7 young. 
Hirundo semirufa Rufous-chested Swallow: Kendu Bay building in culvert 

pipe Apr. 
Hirundo smithii wire- tailed Swallow: Shimoni Apr; Nairobi Apr; Kisii Feb, 

Apr (same nest) ; Lake Baringo May (2) ; near Nakuru inciabating Oct. 
Psalidoprocne pristoptera Black Rough-wing: Mt Kenya May, Jun; Mayer's 

Ranch (Kedong Valley) May. 
Riparia paludicota African Sand Martin: Mt Kenya (3000m) Nov; Kendu Bay 

Turdoides rubiginosus Rufous Chatterer: Kenya coast Jun. 
Turdoides squamulatus Scaly Babbler: Malindi Jly. 
Andropadus importunus Zanzibar Sombre Greenbul: Malindi Apr. 
Andropadus latirostris Yellow-whiskered Greenbul: Nandi Hills Oct. 
Andropadus montanus Shelley's Greenbul: Amani Jly (3), Aug. 
Andropadus tephrolaemus Mountain Greenbul: Elburgon Oct. 
Chlorocichla flavicollis Yellow- throated Leaf love: Kendu Bay Oct. 
Phyltastrephus debilis Smaller Yellow-streaked Greenbul: Sokoke Forest May. 
Pycnonotus barbatus Yellow- vented Bulbul: Nairobi area Jan, Mar, Apr (3), 

Jun (2) , Sep; Njoro Oct; Galana Rcinch Mar; Tsavo East Jan; Bamburi May; 

Olorgesailie Apr (nest inside banda) . 
Campephaga flava Black Cuckoo Shrike: feeding flying young Karen Sep. 

138 East African Bird Report 1977 

Dryosoopus angolensis Pink- footed Puff-back: Kakamega building Aug. 

Dryosoopus cuhla Black-backed Puff -back: Nyeri Feb. 

Eurooephalus rueppelli White-crowned Shrike: Meru N.P. Oct; Lake Baringo 

Apr, May (2) . 
Laniarius ferrugineus Tropical Boubou: Nairobi May; Elmenteita Oct. 
Laniarius funebris Slate-coloured Bo\abou: Lake Baringo Oct. 
Lanius cabanisi Long-tailed Fiscal: Tsavo West Apr; Nairobi Oct, Apr (3); 

Amboseli late Feb or early Mar. 
Lanius aollaris Fiscal: Nairobi Jan, Apr (2) ; Solai Apr, May; Nakuru Aug; 

Amani Jun. 
Lanius dorsalis Taita Fiscal: Olorgesailie Jun. 
Lanius exoubitorius Grey-backed Fiscal: Elmenteita Sep; Naivasha Jun, Oct, 

Nov; Kisurau incubating Aug. 
Prionops scopifrons Chestnut- fronted Shrike: Sokoke Forest Mar*, Apr*, 

Jun, Nov (2) . 
Prionops retzii Retz ' s Red-billed Shrike: Diani (Kenya coast) May; Sokoke 

Forest Nov. 
Rhodophoneus oruentus Rosy-patched Shrike: Maktau Nov. 
Cercomela sootooerca Brown-tailed Rock Chat: NE of Isiolo Aug. 
Cercomela sordida Hill Chat: Mt Kenya Feb, Aug. 
Cercotriohas leuoophrys Red-backed Scrub Robin: near Mombasa Mar; Nairobi 

Apr , May . 
Ciohladusa guttata Spotted Morning Warbler: Lake Baringo Apr, May (2) ; 

NW of Lake Magadi building Apr. 
Cossypha caffra Robin Chat: Nairobi Mar, Apr, Jun, Jly, Dec (2) . 
Cossypha semirufa Ruppell's Robin Chat: Nairobi May. 
Oenanthe tugens Schalow's Wheatear: Naivasha occupied hole May, Oct. 
Pogonooiohla stellata White-starred Forest Robin: Karen Sep. 
Turdus abyssinious Olive Thrush: Nairobi area Mar-Apr (3) , Sep (2) ; 

Solai Apr; Mau Narok Oct. 
Acrooephalus gvaeilirostris Lesser Swamp Warbler: Naivasha Jly. 
Apalis flavida Black-breasted Apalis: Nairobi Jly; Isiolo Oct. 
Bathmoceraus oerviniventris Black-faced Rufous Warbler: Kakamega Nov. 
Camaroptera braohyura Grey-backed Camaroptera: Bushwhackers late Apr or 

early May; Naivasha Jun. 
Chloropeta natalensis Yellow Flycatcher Warbler: Nairobi Jan. 
Cistioola brachyptera Sif fling Cisticola: Karen Mar. 
Cistioola cantons Singing Cisticola: Nairobi area May, Jun; Mayer's Farm 

(Kedong Valley) late May or early Jun; Thika nest parasitized by 

Anomalospiza imberbis May; Naivasha Sep. 
Cisticola chiniana Rattling Cisticola: Mayer's Farm (Kedong Valley) May; 

S of Isiolo Feb. 
Cisticola hunteri Hunter's Cisticola: near Njoro Dec. 
Cisticola robusta Stout Cisticola: Nairobi Apr (2) , May. 
Eminia lepida Grey-capped Warbler: Solai Jun. 

Eremomela icteropygialis Yellow-bellied Eremomela: Magadi Apr. 
Prinia sub f lava Tawny-flanked Prinia: Nairobi late Jun or early Jly. 
Sylvietta brachyura Crombec: near Magadi Mar. 
^Batis molitor Chin-spot Puff-back Flycatcher: Nairobi Jan. 
Bradornis microrhynchus Grey Flycatcher: W of Ngong Hills Jun see vS. 
Bradornis pallidus Pale Flycatcher: Nairobi incubating Nov. 
Hyliota australis Southern Yellow-bellied Flycatcher: Kakamega incubating 


East AfTpican Bird Report 1977 139 

MeZaenomis chocolatina White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher: Naivasha Jxin, Aug; 

Nairobi Feb, Apr (2) , Oct; Solai Apr. 
Melaenornis parnnelaina South African Black Flycatcher: Samburu May. 
Muscicapa adusta Dusky Flycatcher: Mayer's Farm (Kedong Valley) May; 

Naro Moru Nov; Nandi Hills Nov. 
Muscicapa caerulescens Ashy Flycatcher: Sokoke Forest Sep. 
PZatysteira peltata Black- throated Wattle-eye: Shanzu (Kenya coast) Sep. 
Terpsiphone rufiventer Black-headed Paradise Flycatcher: Kakamega Forest 

incubating Aug. 
Terpsiphone viridis Paradise Flycatcher: Nairobi area Mar, Apr (2) , May; 

Kaimosi Feb, Apr; Masai-Mara G.R. Jun. 
Dicrurus adsimilis Drongo: Kenya coast May, Oct; Naivasha Aug; Solai Apr; 

Lake Baringo Apr, May, Aug; Samburu G.R. Apr, May. 
Buphagus africanus Yellow-billed Oxpecker: W of Magadi Apr; Amboseli 

occupied hole in termite mound 16 Mar. 
Buphagus erythrorhynchus Red-billed Oxpecker: Nairobi late Dec or early 

Creatophora cinerea Wattled starling: active colony near Nakuru Jly. 
Lamprotomis caudatus Riippell's Long- tailed Glossy Starling: Solai 

occupied hole, ? eggs May; Bushwhackers feeding young Jun; Nairobi N.P. 

occupied hole Nov. 
Lamprotomis chalybaeus Blue-eared Glossy Starling: Voi occupied hole 

Nov; Nairobi Dec; Solai Apr, Jun; Naivasha Sep and feeding Indicator 

indicator 23 Aug (? eggs early Jly) . 
Onycognathus morio Red-winged Starling: Athi Plains Dec. 
Onycognathus walleri waller's Chestnut-wing Starling: Amani Jly. 
Spreo fischeri Fischer's Starling: Wajir Apr*. 
Spreo superhus Superb Starling: Bushwhackers May; Wajir Apr; Nairobi Jun; 

W of Ngong Hills May see vS; Naivasha Aug, Oct (2) ; Tsavo West late Oct 

or early Nov; Baringo Aug; Samburu G.R. Apr. 
Oriolus larvatus Black-headed Oriole: Nairobi Jan. 
Corvus albus Pied Crow: near Kampala Oct. 
Corvus splendens Indian House Crow: Mombasa Sep-Oct (7+) . 
Zosterops senegalensis Kikuyu White-eye: Nairobi Oct. 
Anthreptes collaris Collared Sunbird: Kenya coast Apr (2) , Jly, Oct (2) ; 

Nairobi Jly; Masai-Mara G.R. Jly. 
Anthreptes reotirostris Green Sunbird: building Kakamega Forest Aug (race 

tephrolaema) and Amani Jly, Sep (race rubritorques) . 
Nectarinia amethustina Amethyst Sunbird: Tsavo East Apr. 
Nectarinia erythroceria Red-chested Sunbird: Kendu Bay Jan. 
Nectarinia famosa Malachite Sunbird: Ngong Hills Jun, Jly (2). 
Nectarinia kitimensis Bronze Sunbird: Nairobi Jan, Apr, Jun, Sep; Kiambu 

Oct; Solai May (2) . 
Nectarinia mariquensis Mariqua Sunbird: Masai-Mara G.R. Jly; Lambwe Valley 

nest parasitized by Chrysococcyx caprius probably laid Jun. 
Nectarinia mediocris Eastern Double- collared Sunbird: Aberdare N.P. Nov. 
Nectarinia olivacea Olive Sunbird: near Mombasa Jun-Aug (4). 
Nectarinia pulcheZla Beautiful Sunbird: Olorgesailie Aug; Lake Baringo 

Apr-May (several) . 
Nectarinia reichenowi Golden-winged Sunbird: Njoro, Mau Narok, Molo, El- 

burgon. North Kinangop Oct-Feb (c. 100 nests, A.E. Williams in Zitt.); 

Kinangop Nov. 
Nectarinia senegaZensis Scarlet-chested Sunbird: Naivasha Jun. 

140 East African Bird Report 1977 

Nectarinia venusta Variable Sunbird: Nairobi area Jun, Sep (2) . 
Nectarinia veroxii Mouse- coloured Sunbird: Shimoni Apr; Malindi Apr, Jun, 

Nectarinia verticalis Green-headed Sunbird: Kampala nest parasitized by 

ChrysocoGcyx ktaas probably would have laid Jly. 
Emheriza flaviventris Golden-breasted Bunting: Nairobi Dec, Feb. 
Serinus dorsostriatus White-bellied Canary: NW of Magadi Apr. 
Serinus striolatus Streaky Seed-eater: Nairobi area Feb, Apr, May, Jun; 

near Njoro Oct. 
Amadina fasciata Cut- throat: W of Ngong Hills Jly see vS. 
Amandava sub f lava Zebra Waxbill: Nairobi N.P. May. 
Estrilda bengala Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu: near Malindi Aug; near Mombasa 

Jly; Nairobi Sep; near Gilgil Aug; Malakisi Dec. 
Estrilda melanotis Yellow-bellied Waxbill: Nairobi N.P. Jun. 
Lonchura hioolor Rufous-backed Mannikin: Limuru Apr. 
Lonchura cuoullata Bronze Mannikin: Nairobi area Jan, Jun. 
Lonchura malaharica Silverbill: occupied nests NW of Magadi May 
Nigrita canicapilla Grey-headed Negro Finch: Kakamega Forest late Nov or 

early Dec. 
Ortygospiza atrioollis Quail Finch: near Njoro Oct (several) . 
Plocepasser mahali Stripe-breasted Sparrow Weaver: Marigat (Baringo Dis- 
trict) Sep. 
Pseudonigrita amaudi Grey-headed Social Weaver: Magadi Apr. 
Pseudonigrita cabanisi Black-capped Social Weaver: Samburu G.R. May; 

Olorgesailie Aug. 
Sporopipes frontalis Speckle-fronted Weaver: near Baringo Sep-Oct (5). 
Passer eminibey Chestnut Sparrow: NW of Olorgesailie incubating and 

feeding young May. 
Passer griseus Grey-headed Sparrow: Nairobi Jan; race suahelicus: Thika 

Apr; race gongonensis: Samburu G.R. Apr; Bushwhackers May; Malindi Oct. 
Passer iagoensis Kenya Rufous Sparrow: near Naivasha Oct; Nairobi Jan, 

Jun; W of Ngong Hills Jly see vS . 
Petronia xanthocollis Ye How- spotted Petronia: NW of Magadi Apr (2) . 
Amblyospiza albifrons Grosbeak Weaver: Nairobi area Apr (2) , May. 
Anomalospiza imberbis Parasitic Weaver: Thika May, host Cisticola cantans. 
Ploceus baglafecht Reichenow's Weaver: Nairobi area Jan, Apr-Jun (4); 

Solai Apr. 
Ploceus bojeri Golden Palm Weaver: Kenya coast Apr, Aug-Oct (6) . 
Ploceus castaneiceps Taveta Golden Weaver: Amboseli Feb (dry) . 
Ploceus cucullatus Black-headed Weaver: Diani (Kenya coast) Jly (large 

colony in all stages) ; Ngulia Mar, Nov; Thika parasitized by Chryso- 

coccyx capriuSj eggs probably laid Jan; Nairobi active colony Sep- Jan 

(eggs mostly Dec) . 
Ploceus insignis Brown-capped Weaver: Kakamega Forest Dec; Nandi Hills Nov. 
Ploceus intermedius Masked Weaver: NW of Magadi May (large colony) ; Lake 

Baringo eggs and young 29 Sep (15 nests) . 
Ploceus jacksoni Golden-backed Weaver: Karen Apr-May (ex captive birds 

released in the area a few years ago) ; Solai May (2) . 
Ploceus luteolus Little Weaver: Lake Baringo May, Sep. 
Ploceus melanocephalus Yellow-backed Weaver: South Nyanza Jly. 
Ploceus ocularis Spectacled Weaver: Karen Aug; near Mombasa Oct. 
Ploceus rubiginosus Chestnut Weaver: NW of Magadi Apr. 
Ploceus subaureus Golden Weaver: near Malindi Apr. 
Ploceus taeniopterus Northern Masked Weaver: Lake Baringo May, Sep. 

East African Bird Report 1977 141 

Ploaeus Velatus vitelline Masked Weaver: Lake Baringo May. 
Ploaeus xanthops Holxab's Golden Weaver: Nairobi area . pr-Jun (4). 
Quelea oardinalis Cardinal Quelea: NW of Magadi May (hvindreds of nests) 
Quelea quelea Red-billed Quelea: ENE of Olorgesailie very large colony of 

e. 100 000 occupied nests, eggs probably Jun-Jly. 
Eupleotes afer Ye How- crowned Bishop: Nairobi N.P. May. 

Eupleotes ardens Red-collared Widow Bird: Karen Jan (3) , Jun (5) , Dec (2) . 
Eupleotes oapensis Yellow Bishop: near Njoro Oct. 
Eupleotes nigroventris Zanzibar Red Bishop: Kenya coast Jun, Jly (3). 


BROWN, L.H. & BRITTON, P.L. in press. The breeding seasons of East African 

birds. Journal of the East Afrioa Natural History Society & National 

CUNNINGHAM- van SOMEREN, G.R. & RICHARDS, D.K. 1977. A note on the flora 

and fauna of two seasonal swamps in the Rift Valley. EANHS Bulletin 

1977: 96-104. 


G.C, Baokhurst 

East African ringing reports have appeared more or less regularly in the 
Society's Journal and will continue to be published there. What follows 
is a brief outline of ringing activity from July to December 1977, that 
is the part of the year not covered by the last report (Backhurst 1977a) . 

Ringing continued in a healthy state although, as always, the number 
of ringers was lamentably small. Just under 500 birds were ringed in 
Tanzania by members of the Ceimbridge Ornithological Expedition to East 
Africa 1977 (see Stuart & Button 1977) ; these were the first birds to be 
ringed in that country for a number of years. In Uganda, ringing continued 
on a small scale at Entebbe. An innovation was the start of ringing (with 
•Nairobi' rings) in the southern Sudan by two workers based at Torit; 
their programme is mainly distributional mapping but ringing is an 
important part, with special emphasis, on Palaearctic migrants. 

As usual, the bulk of ringing was done in Kenya. Several overseas 
research groups used ringing in their studies (see Ornithological 
Studies below) as did some post-graduate students of Nairobi University. 
Locally based ringers continued their work on birds in the Kakamega Forest, 
Nandi Hills, Nairobi area, Magadi area, Sokoke Forest and, of course, at 
Ngulia. In addition, the netting of waders on the Kenya coast progressed 
satisfactorily now that efficient catching techniques have been established. 

Few recoveries were reported apart from the two Ruffs Philomaohus pugnax 
and two Swallows Hirundo rustioa to the U.S.S.R. (Backhurst 1977b). 

The next East African Bird Ringing Report will be published in the 
Society's Journal in 1979. 


BACKHURST, G.C. 1977a. East African Bird Ringing Report \91A-11. Journal 
of the East Africa Natural History Society and National Museum 163: 1-10. 

1977b. Ringing News. EANHS Bulletin 1977: 110-112. 

142 East African Bird Report 1977 

STUART, S.N. & HUTTON, J.M. [Eds.] 1977. The avifauna of the East 
Usamhara Mountains Tanzania. Cambridge, cyclostyled. 


The following studies on birds, being undertaken in 1977, were made 
known to the Ornithological Sub-committee; this section was compiled by 
D.A. Turner. In each case the name of the study is given first, then 
the name(s) and base of the worker (s) followed by a brief outline of the 
work. The studies are listed in no particular order. 

The Behaviour and ecology of nesting Ostriches in Tsavo National Park. 
Dr Brian Bertram, Cambridge. No details available. 

The status, seasonality and distribution of Palaearctic migrants in 

southern and eastern Kenya. Dr D.J. Pearson, Nairobi. The work continued 
satisfactorily relying on observations and netting, sometimes with the 
help of other people. Distributional mapping is being done and some 
results have already been published. 

The Ngulia Ringing Scheme. G.C. Backhurst, Nairobi, Dr D.J. Pearson, 

Nairobi and P.L. & H.A. Britton, Mombasa. This continued satisfactorily 
with the help of other ringers. Results have been published regularly. 

Seasonality of birds in the Kakamega Forest. Dr A.W. Diamond, University 
of Nairobi. The study continues using ringing/retrapping and observation, 

Biology of honeyguides. Dr A.W. Diamond, as above. Particular emphasis on 
feeding preferences, metabolism of wax digestion and development of 
guiding behaviour. 

Feeding behaviour of Mackinnon ' s Shrike and Blue-headed Bee-eater at 
Kakamega Forest. C. Amuyunzu, University of Nairobi supervised by 
Dr A.W. Diamond. 

Feeding ecology of birds in agricultural crops at Kabete . M.K. Warui, 
University of Nairobi supervised by Dr A.W. Diamond. 

Avifaunas of different forest types in Ngong Forest. A. Agoi , University 
of Nairobi supervised by Dr A.W. Diamond . 

Birds of semi-arid areas. Prof D.E. Pomeroy, Kenyatta University College, 
Nairobi. Composition of the bird faunas of selected sites with respect 
to vegetation and changing land use. 

Wetlands and Wildfowl Working Group. C.E. Norris (Chairman) , Nairobi. 
Census and mapping studies of the wetlands themselves and associated 

Breeding behaviour of two Vanellus species. Dr J. Walters, Chicago. 

Comparison between V. crassirostris and V. armatus (with some observation 
on V. coronatus) in Amboseli . 

Barbets and woodpeckers. Dr L.L. Short, New York and Jennifer F.M. Home, 
Nairobi. Studies of these two families with emphasis on behaviour, 
vocalizations and geographic variation. Many of the data incorporated 
in a definitive work on woodpeckers of the world (in press) . 

East African Bird Report 1977 143 

The avifauna of the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest. P.L. & H.A. Britton, Mombasa. 
Emphasis on four endangered species but all species of the forest are 
studied, using ringing and observation. Seasonality, including moult 
and breeding, is particularly important. In addition, regular netting 
visits to a thicket site on coral rag are made, mainly for the collection 
of seasonality data and regular observations are made of sea and shore 
birds all along the coast. 

Endangered birds of the West and East Usambaras. D.A. Turner, Nairobi. 
A study of a number of species in these Tanzanian mountain forests 
which have a very limited distribution and require active conservation 
measures to ensure their survival. 

Cambridge Ornithological Expedition to East Africa 1977. S. Stuart 

(leader) , Cambridge. A four-man expedition to Amani in the East Usam- 
baras using ringing and observation. Report published. 

Comparative studies on the ecology and behaviour of kingfishers. Dr H.-U. 
Reyer, H. Reyer, D. Schmidl and E. Migongo, Seewiesen, BRD. Field work 
concentrated at Lakes Nakuru, Naivasha and Victoria using ringing and 
observation while laboratory studies using hand-reared birds (some of 
which have already bred in captivity) are being undertaken at Seewiesen. 

Behavioural ecology of montane sunbirds. Dr F.B. Gill, Philadelphia. 
The tenth field session was completed in 1977 working near 01 Kalou 
and near Mau Narok using ringing and observation. Study concentrates 
on bird/flower associations with respect to breeding, feeding and 
distribution . 

The adaptive significance of communality in the Green Woodhoopoe. 
Dr J.D. Ligon and S.H. Ligon, New Mexico. This study continues at 
Naivasha gaining data on behaviour, ecology and demography relevant to 
the communal social system exhibited by this species. The work progresses 
using ringing and observation. 

Co-operative breeding in White-fronted Bee-eaters. Dr S.T. Emlen, N.J. 
Demong and R.E. Hegner, Cornell University. This study, which started 
in 1977, seeks to more fully understand the underlying principles 
which govern the evolution and function of co-operative societies. 
Ringing and the fitting of wing- flags facilitate the observations 
necessary, which are being made in Lake Nakuru National Park and nearby 
areas . 

E.A.N.H.S. Nest Record Scheme. Hazel A. Britton, Organizer, Mombasa. 

Collects and collates data supplied by observers throughout East Africa 
which have been entered on the Scheme's Nest Record Cards. In addition, 
museum and literature sources are incorporated into the Scheme's data 
bank. Breeding information extracted on request. (Report pp 132-141.) 

E.A.N.H.S. Bird Ringing Scheme. G.C. Backhurst, Organizer, Nairobi. 

Administers ringing in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and the southern Sudan. 
Will supply rings, from 2.0mm to 16.0mm to bona fide ringers. The 
Scheme provides ringing schedules and retrap forms as well as servicing 
recoveries . 

In addition to the studies outlined above, the National Museums of Kenya 
Department of Ornithology (Curator G.R. Cunningham-vem Someren) assists 
ornithologists in meiny ways, maintains a collection of Kenyan and eastern 
African birds and produces a monthly Newsletter, 

144 East African Bird Report 1977 


As mentioned in the Chairman's General Review on page 114, a review of 
the ornithological literature relevant to East Africa published during 
the year was planned. During the preparation of this Bird Report a new 
development has come to light which would make the planned literature 
review in some ways redundant. Dr C.H. Fry, on behalf of the West African 
Ornithological Society, is in the process of compiling a Bibliography of 
African Ornithology 1975-1978; this work, to be supplemented annually, 
will be available at modest cost early in 1979, as a special supplement 
to Malirribus. 

As Editor of Scopus I realize that the omission of the literature 
review from this Bird Report will be a disappointment to subscribers, 
however, it seems to me that the inclusion of such a review would be 
wasteful and constitute a duplication of effort, paper and costs. Fry's 
bibliography will be as complete as possible, drawing as it does on the 
help of ornithologists specializing on African birds throughout the world, 
including East Africa. As a palliative to the still unconvinced reader, 
I would mention that several leading bird journals already abstract 
references relevant to East Africa; the meagre funds of the Scopus account 
are surely best spent for the piiblication of original work on East 
African birds. 

The Bibliography of African ornithology 1975-1978 will be available 
early in 1979 from Dr C.H. Fry, Department of Zoology, University of 
Aberdeen, Tillydrone Avenue, Aberdeen AB9 2TN, Scotland, price £1.00. 

G.C. Backhurst. 


Abramson, Dr J. Suite 501, 12550 Biscayne Boulevard, North Miami, Florida 

33161, U.S.A. 
Allen, Miss P.M. Box 14166, Nairobi, Kenya. 
Allen, P.B. Box 41190, Nairobi, Kenya. 
Archer, A.L. Box 41822, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Ash, Dr J.S. c/o UNDP Office, Box 24, Mogadishu, Somalia. 
Aspinwall, D. Box RW 93, Lusaka, Zambia. 

Backhurst, Mrs D.E.G. Box 29003, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Backhurst, G.C. Box 29003, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Bamford, M.T. Box 45992, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Barratt, I.M. Box 30091, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Ba;aman, E. Box 23037, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Baxter, H. 1821 Highland Oaks Drive, Arcadia, California 91006, U.S.A. 

Bees ley, J.S.S. 39 Carson Road, London SE21 8HT,U.K. 

Bengtsson, E. Sonnermarksvagen 3, S-430 11 Traslovslage, Sweden. 

Benson, C.W. Department of Zoology, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EN, U.K. 

Bentley, F.J. Box 45713, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Bergeron, D. Mutolere Parish, Box 16 Kisoro, Uganda. 

Best, J.R. 19 The Deans, Portishead, Avon, U.K. 

Beverley, P.E. Kianyaga High School, Box 1020 Kianyaga, Kenya. 

East Afvican Bird Report 197? 145 

Bowen, P.St J. Box 95, Mwinilunga, Zambia. 

Braund, R. Box 10222, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Britton, P.L. Shimo-la-Tewa School, Box 90163, Mombasa, Kenya. 

Britton, Mrs H.A. Box 90163, Mombasa, Kenya. 

Brown, Dr L.H. Box 24916, Karen, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Bruce-Miller, F.N. Box 526, Bungoma, Kenya. 

Butterworth, Dr A.E. 15 Park Street, Dry Drayton, Cambridge, U.K. 

Cape, J.A.D. Box 1 Nandi Hills, Kenya. 

Carswell, Dr M.J. Department of Surgery, Box 7051, Kampala, Uganda. 
Carter, A.G.T. Box 333, Zomba, Mala^Ji. 
Carter, C. Box 1793, Ndola, Zambia. 

Carthy, D. Computer Centre, University of Hong Kong. 

Clarke, H. 2027 El Arbolita Drive, Glendale, California 91208, U.S.A. 
Colebrook-Robjent, Maj.J.F.R. Box 303, Choma, Zambia. 
Cubbison, E. Box 30137, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Cunningham- van Someren, G.R. National Museums of Kenya, Box 40658, Nairobi. 
Curry-Lindahl, Prof K. Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Box 16121, 
S-103 23 Stockholm 16, Sweden. 

Daneel, A.B. Chamber of Mines, Box 809, Johannesburg, South Africa. 

Danforth-Benjamin, A.D. Box 30218, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Daniel, Mrs V. Box 47631, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Davey, P. Box 15007, Nairobi, Kenya. 

De Leeuw, Box 41283, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Dempster, Mrs E.L. Box 14480, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Diamond, Dr A.W. Department of Zoology, University of Nairobi, Box 30197, 

Nairobi, Kenya. 
Dillingham, I.H. Shugen Farm, Roper Lane, Queensbury, Bradford BD13 2NT, U.K. 
Dirks, Mrs J. Box 30601, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Diven, L. 5821 Canal Bank Road, Scottsdale, Arizona 85253, U.S.A. 
Dixon, M. 1818 H. St. N.W. , Washington DC 20433, U.S.A. 
Donnelly, Mrs P.S. Box 420, Malindi, Kenya. 

Dowsett, R.J. The National Museiam, Box 498, Livingston, Zambia. 
Duffus, Dr W.P.H. Department of Pathology, Tennis Court Road, Cambridge, U.K. 
Dunlop, W. 19 Mar chant Road, Ayr, Ayrshire KA7 2SB, U.K. 

Eddy, C.T. Cardinal Otunga High School, Box 520, Kisii, Kenya. 

Edwards, Mrs F.M. Box 42446, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Elliott, Dr C.C.H. FAO, Project Quelea, B.P. 21, N'Djamena, Tchad. 

Elliott, Sir H.F.I. , 173 Woodstock Road, Oxford 0X2 5NB, U.K. 

Emanuel, V. 1603 West Clay, Houston, Texas 77019, U.S.A. 

Englander, Prof Dr H. Zoologische Institut, 5 Kbln 41, Weyertal 119, BRD. 

Eriksson, H. Kabyssgatan 8B, S-414 60 Goteborg, Sweden. 

Fay ad, V.C. Box 14790, Nairobi, Kenya. 
Fennessy, Mrs R. Box 41815, Nairobi, Kenya. 
Forbes-Watson, A.D. 2 Cross Street, Oxford, U.K. 
Francis, J. 43 Archway Street, London SW13 0A5, U.K. 
Frere, P.J. Box 14490, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Geertsema, Miss A. c/o Box 284, Arusha, Tanzania. 

Gerhart, Dr J.D. Ford Foundation, Box 41081, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Gillet, Mrs G. Box 21305, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Gilston, H. Chemin des Mouettes 16, CH-1007 Lausanne, Switzerland. 

Glen, R.M. Box 40691, Nairobi, Kenya. 

146 East African Bird Report 1977 

Goddard, M. Kianyaga High Scool, Box 1020, Kianyaga, Kenya. 

Greenham, R. 47 Overndale Road, Downend, Bristol, U.K. 

Gregory, A.R. Box 24884, Karen, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Grossmann, Dr H. c/o K.C.M.C. , Private Bag, Moshi , Tanzania. 

Grumbley, L.A.S. Box 200, Kiambu, Kenya. 

Gwynne, Dr M.D. Box 47074, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Hamel, Prof P.J. 718 Parkdale Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario KIY IJ3 , Canada. 

Hanmer, Mrs D. 'Sucoma', Private Bag 50, Blantyre, Malawi. 

Hanna, Dr J.R. Faculty of Commerce, University of Nairobi, Box 30197, 

Nairobi, Kenya. 
Hansen, J.M. Sejstrup Mollegard, DK-7840 Hojslev, Denmark. 
Harpum, Dr J. St Paul's College, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, U.K. 
Harvey, W.G. 2 Little Bredlands, Bredlands Lane, Westbere, Canterbury, 

Kent, U.K. 
Hayes, Mrs J. Box 14278, Nairobi, Kenya. 
Hemphill, Mrs M.S. Box 54, Ukunda, via Mombasa, Kenya. 
Herzog, P. Box 25114, Nairobi, Kenya. 
Hobbs, R.N. BASF (UK) Ltd., Lady Lane, Hadleigh, Ipswich, Suffolk IP7 6BQ, 

Holmgren, V. c/o Sallstrora, Johannesgatan 2, S-111 38 Stockholm, Sweden. 
Hopkins, P.G. Box 24638, Karen, Nairobi, Kenya. 
Home, Mrs J.F.M. c/o American Museum of Natural History, Central Park 

West at 79th Street, New York, New York 10024, U.S.A. 
Howell, Dr K.M. Department of Zoology, University of Dar es Salaam, 

Box 35064, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. 
Hubble, R.J. c/o Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co., Box 1014, Lusaka, Zambia. 

Irvine, Dr G.C. Chogoria Hospital, Box 5035, Chogoria via Meru, Kenya. 

Jackson, S.P. Banda Preparatory School, Box 24722, Nairobi, Kenya. 
Jacobsson, B. Kabyssgatan 8C, S-414 60 Goteborg, Sweden. 
Jaeger, M.M. UNDP/SF Quelea Project, Box 5580, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 
Jensen, H. Fraendevej 18, DK-2860 Soeborg, Denmark. 
Jensen, J.V. Skolebakken 5, 3tv. , DK-8000 Arhus C, Denmark. 
Jensen, Dr R.A.C. Percy FitzPatrick Institute, UCT, Rondebosch, Cape Town, 
7700, South Africa. 

Kamman, Mrs M. Box 30137, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Karmali, J.S. Box 42202, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Keating, Molly c/o Veterinary Research Laboratory, P.O. Kabete, Kenya. 

Keith, G.S. Department of Ornithology, American Museum of Natural History, 

Central Park West at 79th Street, New York, New York 10024, U.S.A. 
Kenyon, Mrs M. Box 19163, Nairobi, Kenya. 
Kiff, L.F. Western Foundation, 1100 Glendon Avenue, Los Angeles, California 

90024, U.S.A. 
Kinter, G.L. 121 Hesketh Street, Chevy Chase, Maryland 20015, U.S.A. 
Kreulin, D.A. Box 128, 9750 AC Haren (Gn) , Netherlands. 
Kuchar, P. Box 47146, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Lack, P.C. Rosehill Farm, Coedmor , Cardigan, U.K. 

La Cour, E. c/o Swedish Embassy, Box 30600, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Landgraf, L. 43 Frankensteinstrasse, D-6841 Bohstadt, BRD. 

Larsson, L. Pennygangen 3, S-414 83 Goteborg, Sweden. 

Leckie, P. Box 434, Naivasha, Kenya. 

Lee, H.J. 42 Crofton Road, Ipswich Suffolk, U.K. 

East African Bird Report 1977 147 

Lewis, Mrs J.J. Box 20 139, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Liversidge, Dr R. McGregor Museum, Box 316, Kimberley, CP 8300, South Africa. 

Logan, A.D. Box 47209, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Lohding, Miss A.-M. Box 191, Kericho, Kenya. 

Longrigg, T.D. 12 Almond Street, Newlands, CP 7700, South Africa. 

Loughlin, J.M. Section of Birds, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, 

4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, U.S.A. 
Lewis, R. Box 49538, Nairobi, Kenya. 

McVicker, R.A.M. Box 90664, Mombasa, Kenya. 

Machamer, Rev G.L. Box 41141, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Madge, S.G. Firway End, Crediton, Devon, U.K. 

Maisel, Dr G. 103 North Anita Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90049, U.S.A. 

Malcolm, J.R. c/o Box 284, Arusha, Tanzania. 

Mann, C.F. 123 Hartswood Road, London Wl2 9NG, U.K. 

Martin, Mrs M. Box 14681, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Mascher, Dr J.W. Rontgenaud, Lasarettet, S-891-02 Ornskoldsvik, Sweden. 

Mathews, Mrs T.C.H. Box 24758, Karen, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Meadows, B.S. Box 30521, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Mennell, R. Box 28, Naivasha, Kenya. 

Meyburg, B.U. Herbertstrasse 14, D-1 Berlin 33, BRD. 

Miskell, J. c/o National Musexom, Box 40658, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Mulder, J. Jacob Catslaan 12, Driehuis-Velsen, Netherlands. 

Ng'weno, Mrs F. Box 42271, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Nickalls, Mrs E.M. Box 18288, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Nightingale, E.H. Box 100, Naivasha, Kenya. 

Nikolaus, G. c/o German Veterinary Team, P.O. Juba, Sudan. 

Norris, C.E. Box 42406, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Oliver, P.J. 53 Ember Farm Way, East Molesey, Surrey, U.K. 
Oreel, G.J. Box 51273, Amsterdam, Netherlands. 

Pannach, H.G. Humboldtstrasse 22, D-3300 Braunschweig, BRD. 

Parmenter, T. 48 Manor Avenue, Hassocks, Sussex, U.K. 

Pearson, Dr D.J. Department of Biochemistry, University of Nairobi, 

Box 30197, Nairobi, Kenya. 
Pedersen, B.B. Stiobmollevej 1 2. lejl., 213, DK-2450 Copenhagen SV Denmark 
Pelchen, Rev H. Box 47097, Nairobi, Kenya. 
Penry, Dr E.H. Box 1900, Kitwe, Zambia. 

Pettersson, C.G. Larsbergsvagen 7, rxom 415, S-181 38 Lidingo, Sweden. 
Pettet, Prof A. Department of Botany, University of Khartoum, Box 321, 

Khartoum, Sudan. 
Plumb, W.J. 187 Sheldrake Drive, Ipswich, Suffolk IP2 9JU, U.K. 
Pomeroy, Prof D.E. Department of Zoology, Kenyatta University College, 

Box 43844, Nairobi. 
Porter, S.F. Katete State Ranch, Box 18, Kazimule, Zambia. 

Rankin, H. 505 Valley Road, Fayetteville, North Carolina 28305, U.S.A. 
Raynor, E.M. Priors Mead, Nash Meadow, South Warnborough, Basingstoke, 

Hampshire, U.K. 
Reynolds, J.F. Box 40584, Nairobi, Kenya. 
Reynolds, Ms J. Box 356, Naivasha, Kenya. 

Richards, D.K. c/o Geosurvey Int. Ltd., Box 30750, Nairobi, Kenya. 
Robbins, M. 941 West 2nd Street, Maryville, Missouri 64468, U.S.A. 
Robinson, P. Box 575, Lucuishya, Zambia. 

148 East African Bird Report 1977 

Rolfe, J.G. Weaver's Cottage, 5 High Street, Wangford, Beccles, Suffolk, 

Rutherford, W.J.F. Box 30241, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Schmidl, D. Max-Planck Institut, D-8131 Seewiesen, BRD. 

Schmidt, O. 54 Lympleigh Road, Plumstead, Cape Town 7800, South Africa. 

Schwab, Dr L.T. International Eye Foundation, Box 1366, Nakuru, Kenya. 

Seabrook, Miss E.M. 102 Wakeman's Hill Avenue, Kingsbury, London NW9 OUU. 

Silvester, Mrs S. Box 30333, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Skinner, Prof N.J. Department of Physics, University of Nairobi, Box 30197 

Nairobi, Kenya. 
Small, A. 608 North Camden Drive, Beverly Hills, California 90210, U.S.A. 
Smeenk, Dr C. Rijksmuseum van Natuurlijke Historie, Postbus 9517, 2300 

RA Leiden, Netherlands. 
Smith, Mrs D.H. Box 30016, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Smith, D.W. Lychgate, 37 Kewhurst Avenue, Coodon, Sussex, U.K. 
Stagg, S.J. Kenton College, Box 30017, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Steinbacher, Prof J. Natur-Museum Senckenberg, D-6 Frankfurt/Main, BRD. 
Stevenson, T. Lake Baringo Lodge, Box 1375, Nakuru, Kenya. 
Stjernstedt, R. Box RW 60, Lusaka, Zambia. 
Stokes, S. c/o Heatherlea, East Road, St Georges Hill, Weybridge, 

Surrey, U.K. 
Stretton, S. Buff els Fontein, Box 53, Molteno 5500, South Africa. 
Stuart, S.N. Department of Applied Biology, New Museums Site, Downing 

Street, Cambridge CB2 3EN, U.K. 

Tanner, Mrs L. Box 44, Soni, via Tanga, Tanzania. 

Taylor, B. c/o British Council, Box 415, Ndola, Zambia. 

Thiede, Dr W. Fliederstrasse 2, D-428 Borken/W, BRD. 

Thornley, P. Box 30465, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Timmis, R.G. Box 115, Kiambu, Kenya. 

Tray lor, Maj.M.A. Field Museum, Roosevelt Road at Lake Shore Drive, 

Chicago, Illinois 60605, U.S.A. 
Tunks, I.D. Portsmouth Polytechnic, Department of Biological Sciences, 

King Henry I Street, Portsmouth POl 2DY, U.K. 
Turner, D.A. Box 48019, Nairobi, Kenya. 
Turner, Dr P.C. Muhimbili Medical Centre, Box 20693, Dar es Salaam, 

Tyler, Dr S.J. Yew Tree Cottage, Lone Lane, Penallt, Gwent, U.K. 

Ulf strand. Prof S. University of Lund, Helgonavagen 5, S-223 62 Lund, 

Sweden. / 

Umble, D.L. Box 14146, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Unger, U. Beryllgatan 28, S-421 52 Vastra Frolunda, Sweden. 
Urban, Prof E.K. Department of Biology, Augusta College, Augusta, 

Georgia 30904, U.S.A. 
Urwin, W. 9 Fishley View, Acle, Norfolk, U.K. 

van de Weghe , J. P. B.P. 931, Kigali, Rwanda. 

Visagie, Mrs L. Box 14195, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Vollmers, F. Ossenrehm 6, D-2116 Asendorf, BRD. 

Voous, Prof Dr K.H. Maasdamlaan 28, Huizen 1272 EM, Netherlands. 

Walker, Miss J.B. Box 12517, Onderstepoort , Pretoria, South Africa. 

Walker-Munro, Mrs M.B. Box 14 Kilifi, Kenya. 

Wallace, S. Institute of Development Studies, Box 30197, Nairobi, Kenya. 

East African Bird Report 1977 149 

Walshaw, F.A. Box 45312, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Weurriner, J. 79 Puffin Lane, Pajaro Dunes, Watsonville, California 

95076, U.S.A. 
Watson, J. c/o Jones, Box 139, Mahe, Seychelles. 
Wheeler, C. 3 Woodhurst Close, Cuxton, Kent, U.K. 
Widstrand, S. Malsmansvagen 10, S-223 67 Lund, Sweden. 
Williams, A.A.E. Box 23, Njoro, Kenya. 
Williams, J.G. Box 40729, Nairobi, Kenya. 

Wolf, D. 801 Martinsville Street, Nacogdoches, Texas 75961, U.S.A. 
Wood, Dr B. Department of Zoology, University College London, Gower Street, 

London WClE 6BT, U.K. 

Zimmerman, Prof D.A. 1011 West Florence Street, Silver City, New Mexico 

88061, U.S.A. 
Zink, Dr G. Vogelwarte Radolfzell, D-7760 Schloss Moeggingen, BRD. 

Institutional Subscribers 1977 

Bombay Natural History Society, Hornbill House, Shahid Bhagat, Singh Road, 

BcMnbay 400 023, India. 
C.S.I.R.O. , Division of Wildlife Research, Box 84, Lyneham, Canberra ACT 

2602, Australia. 
Edward Grey Institute of Field Ornithology, Department of Zoology, South 

Parks Road, Oxford 0X1 3PS, U.K. 
Field Museum of Natural History, Roosevelt Road at Lake Shore Drive, 

Chicago, Illinois 60605, U.S.A. 
Kenyatta University College, Box 43844, Nairobi, Kenya. 
Koninklijk Museum voor Midden Afrika, Steenweg op Leuven 13, B-1980 

Tervuren, Belgium. 
Library of Congress Office, Embassy of the United States, Box 30598, Nairobi 
McGill University, 3459 McTavish Street, Montreal, Quebec H3A lYI, Canada. 
Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824, U.S.A. 
Peabody Muse\am of Natural History, Yale University, New Haven, Connecti- 
cut 06520, U.S.A. 
Philadelphia Academy of Sciences, 19th and The Parkway, Philadelphia, 

Pennsylvania 19103, U.S.A. 
Rijksmuseiom van Natuurlijke Historie, Postbus 9517, 2300 RA, Leiden, 

Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC 20560, U.S.A. 
Stavanger Museum, N-4000 Stavanger, Norway. 
Transvaal Museum, Box 413, Pretoria 0001, South Africa. 
University of California, Biomedical Library, Centre for Health Sciences, 

Los Angeles, California 90024, U.S.A. 
Vogelv irte Radolfzell, D-7760 Schloss Moeggingen, BRD. 

List of Exchanges with Soopus^ 1977 

Alaudaj Amoldia (Rhodesia) ; Auk; Bird Banding; Bulletin of the American 
Museum of Nati4ral History; Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History) ; 
Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology^ Harvard; Bulletin of the 
Nigerian Ornithological Society; Emu; le Gerfaut; I'Oiseau; Ostrich. 

Lists compiled by D.A. Turner. 


East African Bird Report 1977 


Only Scopus volvime 1 numbers 1 to 4 are indexed, references to birds in 
the East African Bird Report 1977 are not included as they are to be 
found in systematic/alphabetical order within the Report. 

Acrocephalus arundinaceus 16 

baeticatus 101 

griseldis 13, 78, 110 

palustris 13, 79, 110 

schoenobaenus 16, 109 

scirpaceus 16 
Acryllium vulturiniom 68 
Aegypius tracheliotus 67 
Agapornis spp. 4, 51 

fischeri 4, 51 

personata 4, 51 
Alcedo cristata 24 
Alethe fuelleborni 6 
Anas acuta 21 

clypeata 21, 40 

crecca 21, 40 

penelope 21, 40 

strepera 40 

undulata 21 
Anous stolidus 29 

tenuirostris 29 
Anthreptes collaris 69, 72 

pallidigaster 9 

rectirostris 9 

rubri torques 9 

tephrolaema 9 
An thus campestris 78 

leucophrys 52 

novae seelandiae 52 

sokokensis 5 

trivialis 16, 101 
Apalis karamojae 8 
Apus aequatorialis 100 

af finis 61 
Aquila spp. 63 

clanga 40 

heliaca 40 

pomerina 40 

rapax 40, 83, 105 

rapax nipalensis 40 

verreauxi 83 
Ardea melanocephala 82 

purpurea 82 
Ardeola ibis 82 

ralloides 98 
Arenaria interpres 42 
Aythya ferina 21 


Baeopogon indicator 20 
Balaeniceps rex 62 
Bathmocercus winifredae 8 
Batis minor 101 

perkeo 101 
Bucorvus cafer 68 
Buphagus africanus 87 

erythrorhynchus 68, 87 
Burhinus spp. 58 

capensis 60, 67 

oedicnemus 42 

vermiculatus 60, 67 
Buteo rufinus 41 

rufofuscus 41 
Butorides striatus 98 

Calandrella cinerea 67 

somalica 36 
Calidris alba 42, 48, 89 

ferruginea 48, 89 

minuta 42, 89 

subminuta 42 

temminckii 43 
Camaroptera brachyura 72 
Campephaga flava 24 

phoenicea 68 

phoenicea flava 100 
Caprimulgus clarus 100 

donaldsoni 100 

europaeus 14, 78 

europaeus unwini 78 

fossil 67 

fraenatus 100 

inornatus 100 

nubicus 100 
Cardinalis cardinalis 61 
Cercococcyx montanus 23 

montanus patulus 23 
Cercotrichas galactotes 12, 
Ceyx picta natalensis 24 
Charadrius alexandrinus 42 

dubius 42 

hiaticula 89 

pallidus 60, 67, 76 

pecuarius 60, 67, 76 

tricollaris 60, 67, 68 
Chlidonias spp. 33 
Chloropeta natalensis 67 

80, 110 

East African Bird Report 1977 


Chrysococcyx caprius 98 
Ciconia abdimii 111 

nigra 40 
Cinnyricinclus femoralis 10 

leucogaster 10 

sharpel 10 
Circus aeruginosus 23, 24 

macrourus 41 
Cisticola aberdare 7 

chiibbi 56 

cinereola 7 

hiinteri 56 

restricta 7 

robust a 7 
Clamator glandarius 10, 99 

jacobinus 51, 99 

levaillantii 99 
Colius striatus 72 
Columba guinea 68 
Corythaixoides personata 68 
Cossypha spp. 6 

heuglini 71, 72 
Cotumix delegourguei 99 
Creatophora cinerea 59, 98 
Crex crex 41 
Cuculus canorus 14, 109 

poliocephalus 13, 78 

soli tar ius 111 
Cursorius africanus 58, 67 

chal copter us 67 

cinctus 63, 67 

cursor 58, 67 

temminckii 67 

Dendrocygna bicolor 76 
Dessonornis 6 
Dicrurus adsimilis 25 
Dinemellia dinemelli 73 
Dryocichloides spp. 6 

lowei 6 

montanus 6 

Egretta spp. 58 

alba 98 

ardesiaca 82 

garzetta 82 
Elanus caeruleus 44 
Emberiza calandra 37 

poliopleura 101 
Eremomela icteropygialis 58 
Eremopterix leucopareia 58, 67 

leucotis 100 
Erithacus rubecula 69 
Estrilda bengala 72 
Euplectes axillaris 71, 72 

Euplectes hordeaceus 71, 72 

Falco alopex 74 

amurensis 41 

ardosiacus 67, 74 

biarmicus 85 

cherrug 41 

concolor 41, 74 

cuvieri 73, 83 

dickinsoni 74 

eleonorae 41, 44 

fasciinucha 73, 83 

naumanni 41, 83 

peregrinus 41, 83 

rupicoloides 74, 83 

sijbbuteo 41, 83 
Ficedula hypoleuca/albicollis 81 
Francolinus spp. 58 

jacksoni 2 

leucoscepus 68 

rufopictus 2 
Fulica cristata 21, 68 

Gallinago media 43 

minima 43 
Gallinula angulata 99 
Glareola ocularis 94 

pratincola 23, 62, 67, 97 
Grus carunculatus 68 
Gygis alba 58 
Gypaetus barbatus 83 
Gyps africanus 103 

rueppelli 83, 103 

Haematopus ostralegus 42 
Halcyon leucocephala 100, 111 
Hieraaetus pennatus 41, 88 
Himantopus himantopus 60, 67 
Hippolais languida 79, 110 

olivetorum 13, 79 

pallida 13, 79, 110 
Hirxondo rustica 16 
Histurgops ruficauda 10 

Ibis ibis 67 

Indicator conirostris 18, 19 
exilis 18, 19, 20 
indicator 18, 112 
maculatus 18, 19 
meliphilus 18, 19 
minor 18, 19 
narokensis 18, 19, 20 
pumilo 18, 19, 20 
variegatus 18, 19 
willcocksi 18, 19 


East African Bird Report 1977 

Irania gutturalis 13, 79, 
Ixobrychus minutus 40 

Jynx torquilla 54 



Lagonosticta senegala 71 
Laniarius ferrugineus 72 
Lanius collurio 13, 110 

isabellinus 13 

minor 109 

senator 78 
Larus argentatus 46 

fuscus 45 

genei 45, 46 

ichthyaetus 46 

ridibundus 45, 78 
Leptoptilos crumeniferus 67, 103 
Limicola falcinellus 43 
Limosa lapponica 50 

limosa 43, 49 
Locustella certhiola 84 

fluviatilis 13, 79 

lanceolata 84 

luscinioides 15 

naevia 84 

ochotensis 84 
Loxia spp. 52 
Luscinia luscinia 13, 81, 110 

megarhynchos 13, 110 

Macronyx flavicollis 5 

sharpei 6 
Malaconotus alius 6 

blanchoti 6 

sulfureopectus 101 

viridis quadricolor 101 
Melichneutes robustus 17 
Melignomon 17 

zenkeri 18, 20 
Melignothes 19 
Melopsittacus undulatus 58 
Merops spp. 63 

albicollis 111 
Milvus migrans 105 
Mirafra spp. 63 

africanoides 36 

albicauda 36 

Candida 34, 38 

cantillans 100 

cantillans marginata 34, 35, 36 j 
37, 38 

cordofanica 5 

hypermetra 38 

javanica 34 

passerina 34, 36, 37 

Mirafra poecilosterna 38 

pulpa 34, 35, 37, 38, 100 

rufocinnamomea 36 

williamsi 5, 34, 36, 37, 38 
Monticola saxatilis 16, 110 
Motacilla alba 81 

alba vidua 69 

alba yarrellii 69 

flava 16, 101 
Muscicapa striata 15 

Nectarinia amethystina 69 

bifasciata 71, 72 

hunteri 69 

kilimensis 112 

loveridgei 8, 56 

mediocris 55 

moreaui 56 

olivacea 68, 71, 72 

senegalensis 69 

venusta 59 

venusta albiventris 59 

venusta falkensteini 59 

veroxii 68 
Necrosyrtes monachus 103 
Neophron percnopterus 59, 83, 103 
Numenius arquata 43 

phaeopus 43, 50 
Nycticorax nycticorax 82, 98 

Oena capensis 99 
Oenanthe spp. 63 

isabellina 15 

oenanthe 15 

pleschanka 16 
Oriolus chlorocephalus 24 

oriolus 15 
Otis kori 63 
Otus icterorhynchus 5 

insularis 26 

ireneae 5 

pembaensis 5 

rutilus 5 

scops 78 

Paccycoccyx auderberti 111 
Parus albiventris 8 

fringillinus 8 

rufiventris 8 
Passer griseus 50 
Pelecanus spp. 58 

onocrotalus 67 
Peoptera kenricki 10 

lugubris 10 

stuhlmanni 10 

East African Bird Report 1977 


Phalacrocorax africanus 82 

carbo 67 
Phalaropus lobatus 42 
Philomachus pugnax 89 
Phoenicopterus spp. 59 
Phoenicurus phoenicurus 14, 81 
Phylloscopus collybita 80 

sibilatrix 13 

trochilus 14, 110 
Pitta angolensis 24 
Platalea alba 67, 82 
Platysteira cyanea 68 
Plectropterus gambensis 67 
Plocepasser mahali 50 
Ploceus cucullatus 71, 72 

golandi 9 

ocularis 72 

spekei 9 

spekeoides 9 

weynsii 10 
Pluvialis dominica 42 

squatarola 42, 48, 89 
Pogonocichla stellata 6 
Polihierax semitorquatus 72 
Polyborides radiatus 22, 67 

typus 22 
Porzana porzana 15, 67 
Prinia siabflava 71, 72 
Prionops spp. 9 

poliolpha 6 

plxomata 68 

scopifrons 86 

scopifrons kirkii 86 
Prodotiscus insignia 18, 20 

regulus 18, 20 

zambesiae 18, 20 
Pseudalaemon fremantlii 67 
Pterocles decoratus 58 

exustus 58 

Quelea que lea 73 

Recurvirostra avosetta 60 
Riparia riparia 16 
Rynchops flavirostris 63 

Sagittarius serpentarius 68 
Sarkidiornis melanota 59, 76, 
Serinus sulphuratus 67 
Spreo fischeri 87 

hildebrandti 10 
Streptopelia capicola 107, 108 

decaocto 108 

decipiens 107, 108 



Streptopelia orientalis 50 

reichenowi 107, 108 

semitorquata 108 

senegalensis 99, 108 

turtur 50, 108 

vinacea 108 
Sterna spp. 29, 31 

albifrons 33 

albifrons saundersi 33 

anaethetus 32 

bengalensis 30, 31, 48 

bergii 30 

bergii thalassina 30, 31 

bergii velox 30, 31 

caspia 30 

dougallii 31, 88 

fuscata 29, 32, 58 

hirundo 32 

hybrida 32, 33, 63 

hybrida delalandii 33 

leucoptera 33 

nigra 33, 88 

nilotica 30 

sandvicensis 31, 48 
Struthio camelus 
Sula sula 
Sylvia atricapilla 15 

borin 14, 110 

conmunis 13, 79, 98, 110 

nisoria 14, 79, 110 

Tachybaptus ruficollis 21 
Tauraco hartlaubi 4 
Tchagra australis 72 

senegala 67, 71, 72 
Terathopius ecaudatus 67 
Terpsiphone viridis 
Threskiornis aethiopica 
Tmetothylacus tenellus 51, 101 
Tockus nasutus 52 
Torgus tracheliotus 103 
Trachyphonus darnaudi 5 

erythrocephalus 52 

usambiro 5 
Trigonoceps occipitalis 103 
Tringa erythropus 43 

glareola 89 

hypoleucos 89, 91, 92 

nebularia 89 

stagnatilis 89 

terek 43 

tot anus 43 
Turdoides hindei 7 

hypoleucos 7 

154 East African Bird Report 1977 

Turdoides jardinei 7 
Turdus tephronotus 68 
Turnix sylvatica 99, 110 
Turtur chalcospilos 50 
Vanellus spp. 63 

albiceps 60, 61, 68 

armatus 60, 67, 75 

coronatus 58, 67 

crassirostris 67 

lugubris 67, 75 

malabaricus 62 

melanopterus 59, 67, 75 

senegallus 22, 45, 63, 67, 75 

spinosus 62, 67, 75, 112 

superciliosus 76 

Zosterops spp. 108 

Index compiled by Daphne Backhurst. 

Continued from inside front cover 

'References'; the namets) of the author (s) and date(s) of publication should be 
given in the text in the normal way. A list of the works concerned is given below. 

Observers are asked to send in records of birds for inclusion in the annual 
East African bird report issue. Records which appear in the National Musei4Jfis of 
Kenya Department of Ornithology Newsletter will be reviewed for the annual 
report but, in the case of rare birds or birds showing an extension of range, 
full details supporting the record should be submitted, whether the record is 
sent to the Newsletter or Scopus - this will save correspondence later on. 

All contributions should be sent to Dr D.J. Pearson, Department of Biochemistry, 
University of Nairobi, Box 30197, Nairobi, Kenya. 


FORBES-WATSON, A.D. 1971. Skeleton checklist of East African birds. Nairobi 
(duplicated). = Forbes-Watson 1971. 

HALL, B.P. & MOREAU, R.E. 1970. An atlas of speciation in African Passerine birds. 
London: British Museum (Nat. Hist.). = Hall & Moreau 1970. 

JACKSCW, F.J. 1938. The birds of Kenya Colony and the Uganda Protectorate. 3 vols 
London: Gurney & Jackson. = Jackson 1938 

MACKWORTH-PRAED, c.w. & GRANT, C.H.B. 1957 & 1960. African handbook of birds. 

Series I, vols 1 & 2. Birds of eastern and north eastern Africa. 2nd Edition. 
London: Longmans Green & Co. = Mackworth-Praed & Grant 1957 and/ or 1960. 

MOREAU, R.E. 1966. The bird faunas of Africa and its islands. London: Academic 
Press. = Moreau 1966. 

1972. The Palaearctic-African bird migration systems. London: 

Academic Press. = Moreau 1972. 

WHITE, C.M.N. 1960. A check list of the Ethiopian Muscicapidae (Sylviinae) Part I 
Occasional papers of the National Museums of Southern Rhodesia 3 (24B) : 399- 
430. = White 1960. 

1961. A revised check list of African broadbills.. . .etc. Lusaka: 

Government Printer. = White 1961. 

— — — — — 1962a. A check list of the Ethiopian Muscicapidae (Sylviinae) Parts 
II and III. Occasional papers of the National Museums of Southern Rhodesia 
3 (26B): 653-738. = White 1962a. 

1962b. A revised check list of African shrikes .... etc . Lusaka: 

Government Printer. = White 1962b. 

1963. A revised check list of African flycatchers. .. .etc. Luseika: 

Government Printer. = White 1963. 

1965. A revised check list of African Non-Passerine birds. Lusaka: 

Government Printer. = White 1965. 

WILLIAMS, J.G. 1967. A field guide to the National Parks of East Africa. London: 
Collins. = Williams 1967. 

1969. A field guide to the birds of East and Central Africa. 

4th impression. London: Collins. = Willieuns 1969. 


A message from the Chairman . 113 

General Review 114 

Species Report 116 

E.A.N.H.S. Nest Record Scheme: July 1976 - December, 1977 132 

Bird ringing 1977 141 

East African ornithological studies, in 1977 142 

East African ornithological literature 1977: a notice -. 144 

List of subscribers 1977 ' 144 

Index of scientific names 150 

Printed in Kenya by BEEZEE , Box 30652, Nairobi 

n,:^ y-f^^iO 


A quarterly ornithological publication 
of the East Africa Natural History Society 

Volume 2 (1 ) March 1978 15 shillings